Sweet corn ice cream — a Foodie fail


The Foodie:

I once heard a celebrity chef say “in zee keechen, vee eat owa meestakes.”
Over the last few weeks I’ve heard about sweet corn ice cream several times, once on a morning show, once online and again on my favorite satellite radio show. With the abundance of the best corn in the world right around the corner (literally, in this case), I decided to use a lazy Sunday (normally an oxymoron) to branch out into the use of a vegetable in ice cream.

How bad could it be? I love ice cream and I love corn. I have combined much more diverse foods before with grand success (egg salad and sweet pickle relish, espresso and chili) so, what the heck!

I make a simple ice cream with two cups heavy cream, two cups half and half, good vanilla (let’s talk about good vanilla soon, ok?) and a can of sweet condensed milk. Forty five minutes of a slow churn in my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker and you’ve got a nice dessert.

The sweet corn recipe called for heavy cream, milk, corn, egg yolks and sugar … simple enough. My first veer off the road was the milk. I purchased half and half and decided not to go back to the store. This may have been mistake No. 1.

I sliced the corn off each cob and boiled both corn and cob in the cream mixture along with some of the sugar. I then used my immersion blender (a tool I have fallen in love with) and let the mixture steep for an hour. I was very careful to follow the recipe except I added vanilla because I thought it needed it. This could have been mistake No. 2.

Next, I put the mixture back on the stove to bring back to a boil while whisking nine egg yolks and the remaining sugar. I tempered the eggs by adding a little of the hot cream/corn mixture while whisking very quickly to avoid making scrambled eggs. The custard was still looking good as there was no separation. I added the yolk mixture into the pot and whisked for about 10 minutes until the mixture looked thick and coated the spoon. I passed the entire mixture through a sieve and put the custard into the refrigerator for at least four hours.

Four hours later, I was asleep so letting it chill overnight seemed like a good plan.

The next morning I set up my ice cream maker by inserting the moving paddle and securing it to my stand mixer. Now for mistake No. 3 (and this was the fatal error) of adventures of frozen custard. The mixer instructions are very clear about never stopping the churning until the ice cream is completely churned. I have made at least 50 half-gallons of ice cream and never had a problem but this custard mixture was so thick I was having a hard time getting it into the freezing cylinder.

What did I do? Youbetcha, I stopped the machine and scooped the remainder of the custard into the freezer. And, that’s all she wrote. Frozen solid, the machine making a funky sound and my hours of work simply vanished.

Later, when I could get the churn to move I let it churn again. However, the damage was done. I put it in the freezer and tasted it once it froze solid (and solid it did become because when you do not add the air to the mixture the custard becomes like an ice cube rather than smooth and creamy).

I must tell you, the flavor is spectacular but the consistency is unpleasant. Because it did not churn, there is a milk fat solid feeling on the roof of your mouth (like when you eat butter, don’t even pretend you have never eaten butter) so I only have a spoon at a time (it will take some time to eat ma meestake).

I intend to give this another try and I’ll let you know if I ever get a good final product. If you have ever eaten sweet corn ice cream or know a good recipe I would welcome the dialogue.

When Publisher Tim Schmitt invited me to be a food and wine columnist for http://www.BelowTheFalls.com, I was flattered and nervous. Certainly he knew my degree was in accounting and my experience was sport management?

Not to worry because he apparently wanted my enthusiasm, not my expertise.

Enthusiasm he got … experience, not so much!