Monday, July 4, 2011

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

 When I had the chance to go to San Francisco a few weeks ago, one of the first things I knew I had to do was go to Slanted Door at the Ferry Building. I thought I had been going to have the Shaking Beef but as it turns out, my destiny was actually to be introduced to Sweet Corn Ice Cream. It was one of those things that on my own on any average day, I might have actually turned it down because it really sounds a bit odd for an ice cream base. But on vacation, somehow, your culinary bravery rears its head and takes you down those foodie roads you wouldn't have ordinarily traveled. 

When I figured the hot weather here in Chicago meant Ice Cream was in my future, I started digging around on the internet for a sweet corn ice cream recipe. And thanks to Rick Bayless, I found one that seemed close enough to the original to work for me. And except for the fact that the flavor wasn't as pronounced as the one I had in San Francisco - not Rick's fault but a lack of corn kernels on my part - I thought this was a really good runner up to the original dish. 

The only thing that can be slightly off-putting about this recipe, both at Slanted door and this homemade version, is that it does tend to leave a minimally waxy feeling in your mouth after eating it. But for the sake of having another bowl, I'm going to be strong and overlook that sensation as soon as possible. I think the next time I make it I might cut back on the cinnamon a little as it did tend to overpower the dish very easily - although that could be a difference of opinion in what Rick Bayless and myself would call a scant half teaspoon of cinnamon. 

So if you have any leftover corn from the holiday, definitely consider giving this recipe a shot. If you're an ice cream junkie like me, let me know what you think of it :) 

Sweet Corn Ice Cream By Rick Bayless
Recipe from Season 6 of Mexico - One Plate at a Time

Makes 1 1/2 quarts

2 to 3 ears fresh sweet corn
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/3 cup evaporated milk
A scant 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican cinnamon
2 tablespoon orange liqueur, preferably Gran Torres
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice


1.   Set up a double boiler.   Set up a 4-quart saucepan, filled halfway with water, into which you can nestle a 3-quart stainless steel bowl.  Bring the pot of water to a boil over high heat while you're preparing the custard base.

2.   Cook the base.   Husk the corn and pull off all the silk.  Cut the kernels from the ears and measure 2 cups.  Scoop into a blender and add the half-and-half.  Blend until smooth.  In the 3-quart stainless steel bowl, stir together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined. Add the corn mixture and whisk to combine thoroughly. Reduce the temperature under the pot of boiling water to maintain a gentle simmer.  Set the bowl of custard base over the simmering water and whisk frequently, until the mixture thickens noticeably, about 20 minutes.  The custard is sufficiently cooked when it reaches 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.  (You can also test it by dipping a wooden spoon into the custard, then running your finger through the custard:  if the line holds clearly, the custard has thickened sufficiently.)  Pour the base through a medium-mesh strainer into another bowl (preferably stainless steel for quick cooling).

3.   Cool the base.    Fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Nestle the custard into the ice and whisk regularly until completely cool.  Refrigerate if not using immediately.  

4.   Finish the base, freeze the ice cream.  Stir the heavy cream, evaporated milk, cinnamon, orange liqueur and lime juice into the base.  Freeze in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer's directions. Scrape into a freezer container and freeze for several hours to firm.
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1 comment:

  1. What a perfect 4th of July recipe! I've been wanting to make this! Thanks for sharing this recipe.