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Zoe Francois' Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Sweet Corn Ice Cream

byZoë François
Total 5 hours and 35 minutes
Active 35 mins
Makes about 1 quart
Sweet corn ice cream is simple and brilliant. This version was inspired by one Melissa Clark published some years back in The New York Times, but with a couple of changes and substitutions of my own. I use cream cheese instead of sour cream and evaporated milk in place of whole milk, then add an extra egg yolk to the mix, all of which I think give it a particularly smooth, rich texture.
TIP: Scoop the ice cream while it is still slightly soft from the ice cream maker, or if you’ve frozen it ahead, let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes before scooping so it’s really creamy. Dipping your ice-cream scoop in hot water between scoops will make the process easier.
Special Equipment
an ice-cream maker
Special Equipment
an ice-cream maker
  • 2 cups (480 milliliters) heavy whipping cream
  • One 12-ounce (354-milliliter) can evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 cups corn kernels (from about 4 ears sweet corn, reserve the corn cobs)
  • 2 sprigs lemon thyme (optional)
  • 7 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Caramel Sauce (recipe follows), for serving
    Caramel Sauce
    • 2 cups (400 grams) granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
    • 1 cup (240 milliliters) heavy whipping cream
      1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the cream, evaporated milk, 1/2 cup (100 grams) of the sugar, honey, corn kernels, reserved cobs, and thyme if using. Bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring often. Once it simmers, remove the pan from the heat and cover. Let the corn steep in the cream mixture for at least an hour (the longer you can let it sit, the more saturated the corn flavor will be).
      2. Discard the corn cobs and thyme sprigs. Purée the mixture with an immersion blender, regular blender, or food processor. Bring the mixture back to a simmer, then remove from the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup (50 grams) sugar. Whisk a small amount of the hot cream into the yolks, adding enough to warm the yolks so they won’t curdle. Once the yolks are warm, whisk them back into the saucepan with the remaining cream mixture. Use a rubber spatula to gently stir the custard over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream cheese and vanilla.
      3. Strain the custard through a fine sieve set over a large bowl, pressing down on the corn solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids. To cool the mixture down quickly, place the bottom of the bowl of custard into an ice bath and cover with plastic wrap. Once the mixture has cooled, chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.
      4. Freeze the custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Serve scoops drizzled with Caramel Sauce.
      1. Caramel Sauce
        1. In a medium saucepan, sprinkle the sugar in an even layer. Pour 1/4 cup water over the sugar and add the corn syrup. Cook over medium-high heat without stirring until the caramel becomes a deep amber brown and starts to smoke. Carefully pour in the cream and whisk until smooth. Let cool. If you make the sauce ahead, you may need to warm it slightly to pour it over the ice cream.