Salted Caramel Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Believe it or not, this salted caramel sweet corn ice cream is the last of the ice cream recipes I have sitting in my archives waiting to be shared with you! I went back and counted, this is the 11th ice cream recipe of the year, which is kind of crazy. I guess there’s a reason it feels like I’ve constantly been churning ice cream in the past few months…

Salted Caramel Sweet Corn Ice Cream

Now, to be clear, I’m not saying there won’t be more ice cream this year. In fact, I can almost guarantee there will be! Ice cream is a year-round food in our house, so I won’t stop making it just because the temperatures drop. There are already several fall-flavored recipes on the blog – from apple pie ice cream to pumpkin pie ice cream and even gingerbread ice cream, but I’ve got ideas swirling in my head for a few more :)

Salted Caramel Sweet Corn Ice Cream

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It *is* still summer (for another two weeks!) so I want to give sweet summer corn one last moment to shine. I’d originally seen the idea for sweet corn ice cream while browsing Cooking Light earlier this summer, and then Jessica made a version last month too, which also looked amazing. I just had to try it!

To infuse this ice cream with corn flavor, sweet corn kernels are pureed and then strained. The corn liquid is added to the ice cream so you get the flavor without adding any texture (because that would be weird). The ice cream is custard-based so its creamy and rich, and while its not overpowering, the corn flavor is definitely present. It’s sweet and savory at the same time, and, surprisingly, just works. I was skeptical, but I really liked it. The salted caramel swirl takes it over the top, and in my opinion, is not optional! Salted caramel sweet corn ice cream is definitely one of the more unique flavors I’ve ever tried, and proves that stepping out of your comfort zone can be a very good thing!

Salted Caramel Sweet Corn Ice Cream
ice cream inspired by Cooking Light, August 2003, caramel adapted from Epicurious

Salted Caramel Swirl
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Ice Cream
2 cups fresh corn kernels (reserve the cobs)
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1 cup 1% milk
2/3 cup sugar
pinch salt
5 large egg yolks

To make the caramel: Add the cream to a measuring cup and set by the stove. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar to a medium saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Without stirring, allow the sugar to start to melt. When the edges have melted, and started to turn amber, stir the sugar gently. Then, add 2 more tablespoons and repeat the process – allow to start melting around the edges, then stir. Continue until you’ve added all of the sugar and it’s all melted – then cook until it reaches a dark amber caramel color.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will probably bubble up furiously). When the bubbling stops, stir to combine. If any of the caramel has seized and turned clumpy, just set the pan over low heat and stir until it’s melted and smooth. Stir in the salt. Allow to cool to room temperature before using in the ice cream. (You can also make the caramel up to 2 weeks in advance. Refrigerate it when storing, but bring to room temperature before using in this recipe).

To make the ice cream: Add the corn kernels and 1 cup of the cream to a food processor or blender. Process until smooth. Pour through a fine-mesh strainer into a large saucepan (press on the solids to release as much liquid as possible, discard the solids afterward). Add the remaining cream, the milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar, and the salt to the pan and stir to combine. Set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat and add the corn cobs to the pan, then cover and allow to steep for 30 minutes.

Remove the cobs and discard. Bring the mixture back to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar in a heatproof bowl until combined and pale in color. Slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour back into the saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (about 170-175 F on an instant read thermometer). Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a heatproof bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (overnight is good).

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. As you transfer the ice cream to an airtight container for storage, layer in the salted caramel (how much you use is up to you!). Transfer the ice cream to the freezer and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes about 1 quart