Monday, May 26, 2014

Grilled corn ice cream


Fifteen years ago I spent a week in Shenyang, China, and lots of cool stuff happened but one of the things I recall most clearly was a corn ice cream Popsicle I picked up at a convenience store down the corner from our dorm. Actually, it's funny, some of my best memories from the trip (a medical mission trip) were some fantastic local foods - sweet potatoes covered in syrupy sugar that pulled off in long strands as you take each piece, incredible Peking duck prepared in front of us (and about $6 a person for a feast), this unforgettable tomato seafood soup at a restaurant run by Korean missionaries. But I digress - the corn Popsicle. I went back two or three times for repeat Popsicles. And when I vacationed with my family in Beijing 10 years ago I searched futilely for more corn ice cream. Our tour guide had never heard of them, and I finally found something similar but it did not live up to my memory.

I've searched in Asian markets in Houston and LA to no avail. 

Yes, I am serious about corn ice cream. Google search turned up a couple of ideas, but for some reason I never quite got around to attempting it. Until this weekend.

We grilled 6 ears of corn and cut off the kernels for street corn (oh so so delicious, by the way). I took the ears and steeped them in hot milk/cream, then added some sugar, made a custard with egg yolks, added a pinch of salt, and chilled then made ice cream. 

And it was good. No idea how it compares to that glorious 15-year-old corn Popsicle but compared to every corn ice cream I've eaten in the past 10 years it was amazing. So corny (hee hee) and the pinch of salt made it taste like hot buttered corn. Ice cream. 


Grilled corn ice cream

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
4-6 corn cobs
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3 egg yolks

Heat milk/cream in medium pot. Add corn cobs to warmed milk and transfer to bowl or freezer bag, then chill 4 hours or more (overnight is cool). Put 3 egg yolks in a small bowl. Reheat corn-milk mixture with 1/2 cup sugar and pinch of salt till dissolved. While warming, transfer the cobs to a fine mesh strainer over a bowl in an ice bath. Squeeze from the cobs as much of the milk as possible. Remove cobs. When milk is warm, ladle small amount of milk into egg yolk bowl and whisk (temper the eggs). Continue to add ~1/2 cup milk. Add the egg mixture to the milk and stir continuously with a heat-proof spatula until mixture thickens. Pour custard through strainer. Stir over ice bath till cooled. 

Prepare in an ice cream machine per machine instructions. 

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