All year long I stare at the half-shucked cobs of corn wrapped in plastic on Styrofoam trays at the grocery store, and my mind wanders to summer’s bounty of those sweet-tasting kernels. Well, no more waiting or staring wanderlust in the supermarket—corn season is in full swing here in New York City. While the window for these golden cobs is longer than say artichokes, which disappeared in the blink of an eye, I want to make sure I eat enough to satiate my dreams once the season ends.
It’s easy enough to enjoy grilled—I’m of the plain-jane corn camp, and skip the butter when enjoying it straight from the cob. And I’m covered in the chowder department, having recently made a quite lovely, creamless version. But what if I could also enjoy corn for dessert? What if I could enjoy it in my favorite summer sweet of choice—ice cream? The following recipe was an especially creative use of leftover corn cobs from which I’d removed the kernels to make a corn salad, so it’s bonus points on the waste not, want not scale too.
Nancy Olson, the pastry chef at NYC’s famed Gramercy Tavern made a corn ice cream last year that garnered the attention of Martha Stewart, so I knew this wasn’t a completely crazy idea. I’ve got a hunch if Martha tasted a spoonful of this creamy confection, scented with a delicate corn flavor and essence of lemon thyme, my phone might be ringing off the hook too.
Sweet Corn & Lemon Thyme Ice Cream
Makes 3 cups
2 cobs of corn, kernels removed and saved for later use
2 cups/450 ml whole milk
3/4 cup/4.5 ounces sugar
3 large springs fresh lemon thyme
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten (save whites for a later use)
1 cup/225 ml heavy cream
- Chilled freezer bowl for you Cuisinart ice cream maker
- Scrape remaining juice from cob into milk. Let milk steep with cobs overnight in a covered bowl in the refrigerator.
- Heat milk, sugar and lemon thyme in a medium-sized pot over medium-low heat until hot but not boiling. Remove from heat. Discard thyme twigs; don't worry about the leaves as you'll be straining the mixture at the end.
- Add egg yolks to a deep bowl. Slowly stir 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into the yolks. Pour yolk mixture into the pot with the heated milk. Turn flame to medium-low and cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Pour through a strainer or sieve. Let cool completely in the refrigerator, covered, until it reaches 40ºF. You can alternately use a cold-water bath to speed up the cooling process.
- Pour into the freezer bowl of your Cuisinart Ice Cream maker and churn according to individual machine instructions. Freeze until firm enough to scoop.