CORN-FLAVOURED ICE CREAM: EAR! EAR!

Plac­ing sweet corn ice cream between two waf­fles is a neat way to beat the sum­mer heat

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - CATHY BAR­ROW

Lolling in front of the air con­di­tioner and wish­ing for Snow­maged­don is one way to beat the heat.

For me, the only sen­si­ble re­sponse is ice cream — specif­i­cally and most re­cently, the corn ice cream I had at New York’s Em­pel­lon restau­rant. It filled a taco-shaped waf­fle and had me imagining a way to bring this quin­tes­sen­tial dou­ble dose of sum­mer flavour to a back­yard get-to­gether.

With chef Alex Stu­pak’s recipe in hand, I sought fur­ther ad­vice from ice cream maker Su­san Soorenko, owner of Moorenko’s Ice Cream in Sil­ver Spring, Mary­land. She is a neigh­bour, so ad­mit­tedly the search wasn’t dif­fi­cult. Moorenko’s has made a sweet corn ice cream since 2009, fin­ished with a pinch of salt.

I shared the Em­pel­lon in­gre­di­ent list with her, which in­cluded dex­trose and guar gum — both of which I chose to omit from my ver­sion. “When you’re pro­duc­ing for sale,” she said, “you have to sta­bi­lize the ice cream with some­thing to over­come the ici­ness that hap­pens on Day 2 or 3.”

The Em­pel­lon ice cream does not con­tain eggs, which ac­counts in part for its light and re­fresh­ing tex­ture. It’s more ice milk than ice cream, with corn-in­fused flavour so in­tense it re­ver­ber­ates. But salty-sweet corn ice cream is a bit un­ex­pected, and that strong salt fin­ish is de­light­ful. I would serve it on its own any time.

Stu­pak’s waf­fle-as-taco-shell is thin and crisp, with pock­ets suf­fi­cient to cra­dle every bit of ice cream as it soft­ens. Home­made ice cream and the waf­fles to put it on might seem like a lot of fuss, but it’s easy to break down the recipes into dis­crete tasks over a cou­ple of days. The waf­fles can be made a day ahead, and the ice cream can be frozen for a day or two be­fore as­sem­bling.

Salty Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Make ahead: The corn cobs and ker­nels steep in the milk for an hour be­fore mak­ing the base. The base mix­ture needs to be re­frig­er­ated for at least two hours and up to overnight.

Adapted from chef Alex Stu­pak of Em­pel­lon in New York, by cookbook au­thor and colum­nist Cathy Bar­row.

MAKES 8 SERV­INGS (1 QUART)

2 cups whole milk 3 cups fresh corn ker­nels sliced from 3 ears, cobs re­served 1 cup heavy cream 1/3 cup sugar 1 ta­ble­spoon kosher salt

Com­bine the milk, corn ker­nels and cobs in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once bub­bles ap­pear at the edges of the pan, cook for 8 to 10 min­utes. Re­move from the heat, cover and let the corn steep in the milk for one hour.

Stand the cooled cobs up in the pan. Scrape a blunt knife against each one to re­lease any re­main­ing liq­uid, then dis­card the cobs. Trans­fer the milk and corn ker­nels to a blender; purée for three to five min­utes, un­til smooth.

Wipe out the saucepan, then add the heavy cream, sugar and salt, stir­ring to in­cor­po­rate.

Pour the puréed corn mix­ture through a fine-mesh strainer di­rectly into the saucepan’s cream mix­ture, dis­card­ing any solids. Place over medium heat; cook for seven to nine min­utes, mak­ing sure the sugar has dis­solved.

Strain through the fine-mesh strainer (again), into a stor­age con­tainer. Cover and re­frig­er­ate un­til well chilled, about two hours or, prefer­ably, overnight. This is your ice cream base.

Whisk the chilled base, then pour into the con­tainer of an ice cream ma­chine. Churn ac­cord­ing to man­u­fac­turer’s di­rec­tions.

For a soft con­sis­tency, the ice cream can be served right away. Or trans­fer the ice cream to a freezer-safe con­tainer, cover and freeze for two to three hours.

Salty Sweet Corn Ice Cream Sand­wiches

You’ll need an ice cream ma­chine and a reg­u­lar (not Bel­gian) waf­fle iron. It’s best to fill the sand­wiches while the ice cream is some­what soft. Wrap and freeze the as­sem­bled sand­wiches for at least an hour and up to one day.

Make ahead: The waf­fles can be made and held, tightly wrapped, for sev­eral hours be­fore as­sem­bling the sand­wiches. The sand­wiches should be frozen for one hour be­fore serv­ing. They may be as­sem­bled, wrapped and frozen a day in ad­vance.

Adapted from chef Alex Stu­pak by Cathy Bar­row.

MAKES 12 SMALL SERV­INGS

3 large eggs 1 cup sugar ½ tea­spoon vanilla ex­tract 1½ cups masa ha­rina, such as Maseca brand 3 ta­ble­spoons all-pur­pose flour 1½ tsp bak­ing pow­der 1 tsp kosher salt 8 tbsp (1 stick) un­salted but­ter, melted About 3 cups Salty Sweet Corn Ice Cream, or more as needed (see re­lated recipe)

Pre­heat a waf­fle iron. Whisk to­gether the eggs, sugar and vanilla ex­tract in a large liq­uid mea­sur­ing cup, un­til thick and glossy.

Com­bine the masa ha­rina, all-pur­pose flour, bak­ing pow­der and salt in a mix­ing bowl, then whisk in the egg mix­ture. While whisk­ing, driz­zle in the melted but­ter to cre­ate a bat­ter that is vel­vety smooth.

Grease the waf­fle iron lightly with cook­ing oil spray, as needed.

To make each waf­fle, scoop about a half cup of the bat­ter onto the heated waf­fle iron, us­ing an off­set spat­ula to spread it evenly. Close the lid and cook for about three min­utes, or un­til the waf­fle is lightly golden and re­leases eas­ily. Trans­fer to a wire rack to cool. Re­peat with the re­main­ing bat­ter.

Do not worry if any waf­fles break along their sec­tion lines, as that is the next step.

To make the ice cream sand­wiches, break the waf­fles apart into a to­tal of 24 pieces. Place a small, round scoop of the Salty Sweet Corn Ice Cream on top of 12 of them. (The amount of ice cream you need to fill the sand­wiches will de­pend upon how big your waf­fle sec­tions are.)

Top with the re­main­ing 12 waf­fle pieces and press lightly so the sand­wiches hold to­gether. Smooth the fill­ing edges with an off­set spat­ula.

Wrap each sand­wich in plas­tic wrap and freeze for one hour be­fore serv­ing.

GORAN KOSANOVIC, FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

Sand­wich­ing it between two small crispy corn waf­fles takes the sweet treat over the top.

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