Corn ice cream is the hottest coolest flavor of the summer, and chefs have been jumping on the bandwagon, churning their summer haul rather than throwing it on the grill. “Corn is sweet, so it makes sense in dessert,” Alex Stupak, chef of Empellón in NYC tells us. “I always lean toward buttery, rich flavors with corn. Caramel and toasty-tasting things as well.”
Stupak recently teamed up with Dominique Ansel at Dominique Ansel Kitchen to serve a refreshing corn ice cream taco with avocado salsa, amping up a childhood favorite frozen treat. Naturally, Ansel shares the same sentiment about corn as Stupak, serving a sweet corn soft-serve that's swirled onto a grilled corn on the cob at his Tokyo location.
“Corn is one of those ingredients that’s really versatile and crosses the line between savory and sweet,” Ansel tells us. “It works well in desserts, especially during the summer, right off the cob.”
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Well, we follow suit and combine our love for summer corn and portable sweets for one killer ice cream sandwich. Creamy corn ice cream is sandwiched between two layers of corn bread before getting topped with crushed corn nuts and Corn Pops®. The combination of fresh kernels and cornmeal produces an intense corn flavor in the perfect chilled package.
While we go pure with our ice cream sandwiches, corn is an ingredient that pairs perfectly with bright summer flavors like berries and stone fruit. “I love to use blueberries with corn,” Sam Mason, chef and co-owner of OddFellows Ice Cream Co., tells us. “We've done our corn bread sundae here with corn bread ice cream, blueberry compote, corn soil and bacon whipped cream. That was one of my favorites.”
For us, the nostalgia of our favorite childhood cereal, Corn Pops®, adds the perfect final touch to this dessert, pairing well with the salt added by the crushed corn nuts. All together, these components combine to give you a punch of corn flavor in the perfect package for a hot summer day.
Corn Bread Ice Cream Sandwiches
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 12 ice cream sandwiches
Prep Time: 30 minutes, plus steeping, chilling and freezing time
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes, plus steeping, chilling and freezing time
For the Corn Ice Cream:
4 corn ears, shucked
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
6 egg yolks
For the Corn Bread:
1½ cups all-purpose flour
⅔ cup sugar
½ cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup vegetable oil
4 tablespoons melted butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1¼ cups buttermilk
For the Topping:
½ cup corn nuts
½ cup Corn Pops®
1. Make the corn ice cream: Cut the kernels off the corncobs and chop the cobs into 2-inch pieces. Transfer the kernels and cobs to a medium saucepan with the cream, milk, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let steep for 1 hour, then discard the cobs and transfer the mixture to a blender. Purée until smooth, then return to the pan.
2. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl. Return the corn purée to a simmer, then gradually ladle it into the egg yolks, whisking to prevent the yolks from curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and stir continuously until the mixture thickens, coating the back of a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve and let cool, then chill in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure the bowl of the ice cream maker is placed into the freezer the night before churning.
3. The next day, make the corn bread: Preheat the oven to 350º and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, cornmeal, baking powder and salt, until incorporated. With the motor running, add the oil, melted butter, honey and eggs, then slowly stream in the buttermilk until a smooth batter comes together. Pour into the prepared baking sheet and smooth with a spatula. Bake, rotating halfway through, until golden brown, 30 minutes. Let cool completely.
4. Using an ice cream maker, churn the corn base according to the manufacturer’s directions.
5. Transfer the corn bread to a cutting board and halve crosswise. Transfer one piece to a parchment-lined 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Spread the churned ice cream in an even layer over the corn bread and add the other piece over top. Wrap in plastic and freeze until set, 4 to 6 hours.
6. Top the ice cream sandwiches: In a food processor, combine the corn nuts and Corn Pops®, and pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Cut the ice cream sandwich into 12 bars and press each into the corn nut mixture to top. Serve immediately or keep wrapped in the freezer for up to 2 days.