Cool off with corn ice cream
The flavor concoction of sweet corn ice cream might give off a hip, trendy breeding, like something straight from of a boutique ice cream parlor — especially when infused with a berry compote.
It rides the coattails of other trendy savory-to-sweet ice cream flavors, such as salted caramel, maple bacon, even pear and blue cheese. But the truth is, this modest single-flavor ice cream is at every paleteria in every Mexican neighborhood — on a stick or in a scoop.
Find “nieve de elote” alongside other savory Mexican flavors, like queso, that get sweetened into a nearly unrecognizable about-face.
Yet to the average ice cream addict, sweet corn ice cream is far from normal; it is something special for reasons that don’t even include straying from the traditional. The taste — sweet with just a bare wisp of summer’s sweetest flavor — is unique, mild and very complementary to a stream of black raspberries, blackberries or blueberries, which all happen to be at their peak around the same time the first harvest of sweet corn is ready for the picking.
Dark berries work best with this mild ice cream; red berries are almost too overwhelming and tend to take control of the flavor.
There’s also the pride and pleasure that comes along with utilizing a seasonal ingredient. When sweet corn is in season, much too often we buy in excess. This recipe is the perfect way to use up what you don’t eat for dinner.
You may even have the flavor of the season tucked away in your freezer for weeks to come.
This recipe uses a standard frozen custard base: a yolk mixture which features its own version of tres leche. Half-and-half replaces condensed milk, but heavy cream and evaporated milk are all used to thicken the base.
Although freshly shucked corn on the cob is used, the preparation of the custard actually slightly cooks the corn just enough to yield a delicious sweet corn flavor. Emulsified in a blender, then strained, this custard yields the great taste of sweet corn without the pesky solids that get stuck between your teeth.
It isn’t always unspeakable to fall for a food trend. Worries about the longevity and practicality of many unorthodox dishes are common, but with roots as old and cultural as sweet corn ice cream — and the accessibility of a seasonal flavor — you can be sure that this one will stick around.