Author Notes: A smoky, spicy, savory twist on the Sweet Corn ice cream recipe I fell in love with from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. Delightfully pleasing and puzzling at the same time - tantalizing flavors of corn, thai basil and chili magically unfold one at a time on the palate. I make ice cream about once a week and almost never post the recipe, but this one was far too shockingly good not to share!
Note: I used triple the amount of corn for a more explosive sweet corn flavor, a high ratio of cream to milk for richness, and a bit more sugar than Jeni normally calls for to balance the intensely savory qualities in the chili and basil. —Michael Okusa
cups Heavy Cream
cups Whole Milk
tablespoons Corn Syrup
teaspoons Corn Starch
teaspoon Sea Salt
Ears of Corn
Dried Ancho Chiles
cup Torn or Shredded Thai Basil Leaves
- Prep for the ice cream base: Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
- Cut kernels off cobs of corn; reserve kernels. Scrape ("milk") the cobs with the back of a knife to extract the liquid directly into the saucepan. In the saucepan, whisk together remaining milk and the cream, sugar, corn syrup; crush the chiles and add them to the saucepan with the corn kernels and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and allow the chiles to steep in the ice cream base for 30 minutes or so. Taste every 10 minutes to gauge how spicy the base has become. Strain out the corn and chiles, pressing firmly on the solids to extract all the corn juices and chile flavor and return liquid to saucepan. Cook for 4 minutes; remove from heat and stir in corn starch slurry. Return to a boil and cook, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Pour 1/2 cup of hot ice cream base into cream cheese mixture; whisk until smooth. Whisk in remaining ice cream base until homogeneous. Whisk in shredded Thai Basil Leaves. Pour mixture into a 1 gallon ziplog bag and submerge in ice water bath. Place bag in refrigerator for 12 hours or overnight to fully extract flavor from Thai Basil leaves.
- After the overnight chill, strain out Thai Basil leaves and pour mixture into an ice cream maker; process according to manufacturer's instructions. Skip the black raspberry sauce that Jeni adds. This ice cream has plenty of mind-blowing flavor on its own.