I have mentioned before how my first Roman summer has forced me to adapt – what I did not mention is that there is a surprisingly easy way to deal with the heat: eat copious amounts of ice cream. While Rome, like any other big city these days, is full of ice cream places selling cones piled high with technicolor scoops of ice cream that is full of air, fillers and artificial flavourings, thankfully, not far from our house is Fatamorgana, one of Rome’s best gelaterias, with their own production of artisan gelato. Their gelato is not only free of additives and is gluten-free, they also offer some of the most interesting flavours I have so far come across in Rome – think chocolate and tobacco; fennel, liquorice and honey; etc. What is even better, during the summer months, Fatamorgana stays open until around midnight most days
As easy it is to get hold of great tasting gelato made from real ingredients, there is nothing like having a batch of homemade ice cream sitting in our freezer, two short steps away from our sofa whenever an intense ice cream craving hits or the weather gods decide to dial up the temperatures just a little bit more, to see whether this German girl can take the heat or will finally combust
Corn as flavour has been on my mind for a while. While I went crazy for the sweet crunch of tinned corn as a child (I freely admit my favourite topping for homemade pizza was corn and nothing but corn), lately I am much more intrigued by the use of corn in sweet preparations as it is so different to the sweet flavours I grew up with. I am intrigued by sweet tarts filled with corn pastry cream and topped with blackberries, corn-flavoured panna cotta served with a coulis from summer berries and, last but not least, corn ice cream. In the end my first experiment using corn for a dessert was a recipe for corn ice cream, adapted from a recipe in the New York Times, which, after swirling through a blueberry and lime compote, I used to make little ice cream sandwiches
To keep this post from getting even longer, I have decided to split the recipe in two – below you will find the recipe for the Corn and Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream, delicious on its own. If you want to use the ice cream to make ice cream sandwiches, next week, I will post about the Corn Cookies I used for these.
Corn Ice Cream with a Blueberry Swirl
Adapted from the New York Times recipe for Corn Ice Cream
Yields just under 1 litre of ice cream, enough for ca. 15 ice cream sandwiches
For the corn ice cream
4 ears of corn, shucked and the cobs cut into rough chunks
500ml heavy cream
6 egg yolks
1 large pinch of salt
For the blueberry compote
2 tbsp sugar
Zest and juice of 2 lime
2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in 4 tbsp water
Ca. 30 corn cookies, each slightly larger than a single ice cream scoop, frozen (for easier handling).
1. For the corn ice cream , place the corn kernels, the cobs, 100g of the sugar, milk and cream in a saucepan and heat to simmering point. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 1 hour. Discard the cob and puree the mixture using an immersion blender. Pass mixture through a fine sieve and make sure to squeeze the corn kernels hard to catch all their juice. Return mixture to a saucepan and heat to simmering point on a medium flame.
2. While the corn mixture is heating up, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 60g sugar and the pinch of salt until frothy. Add a large ladle of the hot corn mixture to the egg yolks and whisk to combine before pouring into the saucepan with the corn mixture. Stirring continuously, cook the custard for ca. 10 minutes on a medium flame and until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
3. Pour custard into a bowl set in an ice bath and leave custard to cool for at least four hours before churning the ice cream.
4. To churn the ice cream, either pour the ice cream into an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions or pour the ice cream in a sealable container and place it in the freezer, stirring vigorously with a fork every 30-60 minutes to ensure an even distribution of small ice crystals in the ice cream (I followed the latter route and was very happy with how creamy the ice cream turned out).
5. For the blueberry compote, place the blueberries, sugar, lime zest and lime juice in a pan on medium heat. Stirring continuously cook on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the blueberries are starting to break down. Add the cornstarch and stir to combine. Bring mixture back to a boil, wait until the mixture is no longer cloudy and the juices have visibly thickened (ca 60 seconds). Turn off the heat and let compote cool to room temperature before swirling it into the ice cream. In terms of timing, I would make the blueberry compote as soon as the custard is set aside to cool down – this will allow the compote to be ready and cooled down to room temperature once it is time to swirl into the ice cream base.
6. To make the ice cream sandwiches, place a single scoop of ice cream on one cookie and top with a second cookie, pressing down to flatten the ice cream scoop (but not so much that the ice cream squirts out the sides). Wrap ice cream sandwiches in greaseproof paper and place in the freezer where they should keep a few weeks.