Recipe: Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet fresh corn is hitting the farm stands, which means it’s the perfect time to make this unusual, unbelievably delicious dessert. Sweet corn ice cream is smooth, sweet, with a hint of cinnamon and it will knock your socks off. No matter who I serve this to, young or old, they always ask for a second helping. Pick up some fresh corn (the fresher, the sweeter), and give it a try!

Sweet Corn Ice Cream
from Rick Bayless

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
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican cinnamon
2 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Directions

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.

HINT: There are different varieties of corn, so look for one that’s labeled “sweet.” You can also test its sweetness by taking a raw bite. It should be sweet and juicy.

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