Fresh Corn Ice Cream with Blackberry Swirl

It’s prime corn season! So when you’re tired of munching it off the cob but not ready for soup, you can make some ice cream. This recipe might be a bit more involved then say making a vanilla bean version. But it’s totally optional to coursely chop the corn kernals in a food processor. It does produce more flavor but how much corn flavor is too much? Only you can decide.

I’ll save you a step by not making you temper the eggs with the warmed milk. Just whisk the eggs and 1/2 the sugar in the saucepan, add the milk mixture and slowly raise the heat, stirring constantly until an instant read thermometer registers 150 degrees F or the custard coats the back of a spoon. I know, who knew you didn’t have to temper eggs!  I’ll pass your “thank yous” on to my friend Chef Dave who gave me the idea.

Oh and the blackberry swirl does add a nice tart balance. Next time too, I’ll make some honeycomb candy as a topping.

Blackberry Swirl 
6 ounces blackberries, fresh or frozen
¼ cup (2 oz / 55 g) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Ice Cream Custard Base
3 ears fresh corn, shucked
1 ½ (12 oz) cups whole milk
2 cups (16 oz) heavy cream
1 cup (7 oz / 200 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 lg pinch kosher salt
3 – 4 fresh thyme sprigs (optional)
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (4 oz) Crème fraîche or sour cream

For the Swirl: Combine blackberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook for about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring and mashing the berries while cooking to help release their juices. Once the berries have broken down, add the cornstarch, whisking until no lumps remain. Cook for another 3 minutes then remove from heat.

Strain mixture through a fine seive into a clean bowl, pressing the berries against the sides of the strainer to extract as much juice as possible. Discard the solid blackberry seeds that remain. Cover the blackberry purée and chill in the refrigerator for 3 – 4 hours.

For the Ice Cream Base: Using a chef’s knife cut the corn cob in half and slice the kernels off the cobs. Place corn kernels in a food processor and using the metal “S” blade coarsely chop.

Add the chopped kernels, any accumulated juice, and corn cobs to a large saucepan. Add the milk, cream, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and thyme sprigs (if using). Bring mixture just to a boil, stirring and watching carefully so that it doesn’t boil over, then remove from heat. Let stand, uncovered to allow the corn to infuse in the cream/milk for about 1 hour, then discard corn cobs and thyme sprigs.

Using an immersion or regular blender, purée the corn/milk mixture. Set aside. In the same saucepan whisk together the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Add the puréed corn/milk mixture. Return mixture to medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon or an instant read thermometer registers 150 degrees F, about 10 minutes.

Pass custard through a fine sieve, pressing down on the solids. Discard solids. Whisk in crème fraîche (or sour cream) until smooth. Let custard cool in an ice bath, stirring occasionally, then cover and chill for at least 4 hours or better yet overnight.

Freeze corn mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, alternating with  drizzles of blackberry sauce and ending with a final drizzle. Do not mix together or you’ll just end up with purple ice cream.

Press a sheet of parchment paper or plastic wrap directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours or overnight.

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