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Sweet Corn and and Blackberry Ice Cream

I know.  I just used corn and ice cream in the title.  I saw this recipe two years ago in the New York Times and vowed to make it just because it sounded weird.  Sometimes weird recipes turn out to be amazing, and it is – weird and amazing! The corn flavor is hard to decipher if you don’t know it’s there, so if your friends (or husbands) are not adventuresome eaters it is totally appropriate to withhold certain information until after they have fallen in love with this delicious summer concoction.  

Sweet Corn and Blackberry Ice Cream
adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

Blackberry Sauce:
2 cups blackberries or raspberries, or a mix of both
1 cup sugar

1 ear of fresh sweet corn, husked and silk removed
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup

Blackberry sauce: combine the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Continue boiling, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 220 degrees.  Let cool slightly, then force through a fine mesh sieve to remove the seeds.  Refrigerate until cold.

Ice cream base: slice the kernels from the corn cob then extract the corn juices by scraping the cob with the back of a knife.  Reserve the kernels and as much corn juice as possible. 

Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Set aside.

Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Set aside.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn and corn juice, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from the heat and force the mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, leaving the solids behind.  Return the mixture to the saucepan and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Return to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Remove from the heat.

Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth.  Chill mixture overnight.  Freeze according to your machine’s manufacture’s instructions. 

Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating with layers of the blackberry sauce. Do not mix.  Place a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment paper directly over the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of the freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Notes on the recipe:

-It’s really important to freeze the canister in the coldest part of the freezer before churning the ice cream. It takes 2 days for my canister to become frozen enough. I also place the custard in the freezer for about one hour prior to churning.  This lowers the temperature of the base just enough to ensure success.

-I am pretty sure any berry would be fantastic, especially blueberries or raspberries. 

-I am really enjoying the recipes from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  Her base is drastically different from the more common egg yolk based custards.  Instead she uses cornstarch, a bit of corn syrup and a little cream cheese to make a base that freezes beautifully without ice crystals every time.  I was totally skeptical until I tried it and now I just can’t go back. One of these days I will post her recipe for salted caramel ice cream.  It’s probably the best thing I have ever made in my life.

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