Nebraska is the Cornhusker State, so I just had to make a corn inspired dessert. While Nebraska doesn't have an official state dessert, they have designated Kool-Aid as the official state soft drink since it was invented in Hastings, Nebraska in 1927 - just a fun fact for trivia night.
OK, back to corn and finding a suitable recipe for Nebraska's state sweet.
Of course there are corn muffins, corn fritters and corn cakes - but to me, none of those really screams dessert. But, I scream, you scream, we all scream for CORN ICE CREAM!!!
Yes - CORN ice cream! I first learned of corn ice cream during my externship at Gramercy Tavern with Pastry Chef Nancy Olson. One of Nancy's many desserts with a cult-like following is her Blueberry Corn Ice Cream Sundae that comes on the menu each summer and stays there as long as fresh corn is available in NYC. Her sundae is amazing and unforgettable made of corn ice cream, blueberry corn compote, toffee popcorn, whipped cream and mini corn muffins!
Nancy made an appearance on Martha Stewart's show and shared the recipe so I decided to make her delicious corn ice cream!
6 cups fresh or thawed frozen sweet corn kernels (from about 6 ears), cobs reserved if using fresh
4 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
6 Tablespoons light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 1/8 cups sugar
12 large egg yolks
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
Note: I made a half batch of this recipe and it fit in my 1.5 quart ice cream freezer, but barely.
- Set a large bowl in an ice-water bath; set aside. In a large saucepan, bring corn, corn cobs (if using), 3 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, corn syrup, vanilla bean seeds and pod and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, to prevent sugar from sticking to the bottom of the saucepan.
- In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup milk until well combined. Remove corn mixture from heat; slowly add about a third of the hot corn mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan with corn cobs, whisking constantly. Return saucepan to medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, cook until custard mixture coats back of a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes; stir in vanilla extract and salt.
- Pour custard mixture into bowl set in ice-water bath; let cool completely. Transfer custard mixture to refrigerator and let chill overnight.
- Remove corn cobs and vanilla bean pod from custard mixture, squeeze out any excess liquid; discard cobs. Transfer custard mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids.
- Transfer custard mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Put in freezer and freeze solid before serving. Keep ice cream frozen in an airtight container up to 5 days.
This ice cream is so unique! The first few bites your taste buds will be confused... but then they will be very happy!