Let’s play a little word association game. I’m going to say a word, and then you say back the first thing that pops into that food-loving, adorable little brain of yours.
The word is…Indiana!
I figure some of you went the sports route and said “Indianapolis 500” or “basketball” or something related to those. Those people, you are my favorite.
Or maybe you went the more political route and said “uneducated hicks”. To which I eloquently say, “You suck.”
But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say that vast majority said something like “corn” or “farms” or “flat” or something else related to our vast agriculture society.
There’s more than corn in Indiana (we even have a theme park that uses that phrase as their tagline), but with almost 65% of the state’s land being farmland, agriculture is definitely a defining part of our state. I’ve come to embrace our farmland landscape as charming, wholesome and Midwestern.
If you don’t live in a farming state, and you’ve never had a fresh, ripe ear of sweet corn, I am terribly, terribly sorry. The kernels are plump, creamy and dessert-like sweet. As a kid, me and my brunette pigtails would skip down to the garden and pull ears off the stalk. I’d plop down in the grass and feast on a lunch of raw corn. No need for butter, salt or even cooking. Delicious just the way nature made it.
That memory is what led me down the path to sweet corn ice cream. I’d be lying if I said this was my original idea. I first saw sweet corn ice cream early this summer at a local ice cream shop, Hartzell’s. They are known for their unique flavors. I spotted the sweet corn flavor, but was entirely too distracted by the promise of chocolate and sweet basil* to even give any other flavor a taste. I filed the idea of a sweet corn dessert back into my brain for later use.
Then, last week, my friend/boss, Heather, gave me this amazing book for a blogiversary gift (awesome boss, right?) and inside was a recipe for sweet corn ice cream with black raspberry sauce. It’s fate, right?
That was all I needed to go on my own sweet corn ice cream fact-finding mission. And let me tell you, the result is quite possibly my favorite recipe I’ve ever posted here. I can’t stop thinking about this ice cream. It is so interesting and incredibly addictive. It is sweet and tart at the same time. The sweet corn ice cream base on its own is spectacular, but I swirled in a three-berry syrup to add a beautiful color and fruity bite. Please go out and buy an ice cream machine and make this.
A word of caution: please make this now. While the local corn is fresh, ripe and decadently sweet. If I catch any of you making this in the middle of winter with ears of corn shipped in from Chile, I will personally track you down and destroy your ice cream machine. Trust me, this is one of those recipes that is best reserved for use only when the ingredients are at the peak of freshness.
Promise me right now. I’m waiting…
Sweet Corn and Three Berry Ice Cream
I like chunks of things in my ice cream; I find that biting into a juicy kernel of corn is one of my favorite parts of this ice cream. But if you prefer a smoother mouthfeel, strain both the berry sauce and ice cream base through fine sieves to remove seeds and corn kernel hulls.
Makes about one quart
For the three berry swirl
- 6 ounces raspberries
- 3 ounces blackberries
- 3 ounces blueberries
- 1/2 cup sugar
For the sweet corn ice cream base
- 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- Pinch of salt
- 1 ear sweet corn
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 2/3 cup sugar
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until the sauce is thick and syrupy. Transfer to a bowl and place in fridge to cool.
- For the ice cream, whisk together cornstarch and about 2 tablespoons of the milk in a small bowl until cornstarch is dissolved, set aside.
- In a large, heatproof bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt.
- Slice off the kernels of the corn into a large saucepan, discard ear.
- Add remainder of the milk, heavy cream and sugar to the corn kernels.
- Slowly heat the ice cream base over medium-low heat until frothy, about 7 minutes.
- Remove from heat and whisk in cornstarch mixture.
- Return to medium heat for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened.
- Whisk the corn and milk base to the cream cheese bowl until completely combined.
- Refrigerated until completely cool, about 4 hours.
- Once cool, pour ice cream into the canister of an ice cream machine and process as directed by the manufacturer.
- Once done processing, layer the ice cream with the berry sauce in a freezer-safe container. Do not stir. Freeze for 3-4 hours or until ice cream is completely solid.
*The sweet basil and chocolate was off-the-chain.