My waxing poetic about food continues with yet another summer-inspired recipe. This time the star ingredient is corn. Being originally from a major corn producing state, corn is inextricably linked with summer for me. The landscape surrounding my parents’ house is framed by endless rows of lanky corn that transition from pastoral green to pale gold as the seasons progress. Corn stands are predictable fixtures along the suburban roads and no BBQ is complete without corn on the cob, the Robin to the Batman of steaks or ribs or chicken. These days my feelings about corn are more polarized given its stealth ability to show up in just about everything in our food supply. But whatever war I wage against corn fed meat and HFCS nothing beats fresh sweet corn in the summertime. This recipe moves corn from its sidekick status and brings it to the forefront of the dish. If you’ve never tried corn in a sweet preparation before this may be the recipe to help you reconsider. It’s my homemade version of a fabulous sweet corn ice cream that I first tried under the Palapa Azul brand at Whole Foods. My version recreates everything I loved about the original, but with less guilt using an adaptation on the Canyon Ranch Ice Cream recipe. A combination of low fat milk and half and half may make this lower in calories and fat, but you still get all the sweet, subtly nuanced flavors of the corn. The result is an ice cream that tastes just like sweet corn, but in a creamy form, with the cream and milk providing the perfect luscious stand in for butter.
You might be tempted to use this ice cream as the base for a sundae or a companion for a baked dessert, but resist the urge! This is one scoop that is better solo since the flavors are so delicate they can easily get lost.
Yields 10 1/3 cup servings
Adapted from Canyon Ranch’s base Ice Cream recipe Ingredients:
-2 ears fresh corn, shucked
-1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
-1/2 cup half and half
-1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
-1/4 cup beaten egg yolks
Using a large knife, slice the kernels off the corn cobs and place in a large saucepan. Break the cobs into thirds and add them to the pot along with the milk, half and half, and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring, then turn off the heat. Using an immersion mixer or a blender, puree the corn kernels (not the cobs). Infuse for 1 hour. Remove cobs.
Bring the mixture back to a simmer, then turn off the heat. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Add a cup of the hot milk to the yolks, stirring constantly so they don’t curdle. Add the yolk mixture to the saucepan, stirring. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spoon, about 10 minutes.
Pass the custard through a fine sieve, pressing down hard on the solids, discard solids. Let the custard cool, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
*Note: If I made this again (and I am sure I will) I probably would have added some salt into the mix. It does a great job of enhancing flavors and when I make this again you can be sure it will be included.