Sweet Corn Ice Cream With Pickled Strawberry Sauce

Tim Drown, regional executive chef of the University Center Club in Tallahassee, Fla., crowns his silky creation with fresh strawberries kissed with balsamic vinegar and thyme.

2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 fresh vanilla bean, cut in half longwise
4 ears fresh corn
8 egg yolks
1 pinch cayenne pepper
Pickled Strawberry Sauce (recipe follows)

In a deep, medium-size saucepot, combine the milk, heavy cream, salt, 1/2 cup of the sugar, and the scraped-out vanilla bean. Cut the corn kernels off the cobs and add the kernels to the pot. Place the cobs in the saucepot, too, cutting them to fit if necessary. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring often, and then set aside to cool.

Remove the cobs from the pot and discard. Using an immersion blender, puree the corn kernels in the pot until smooth. Bring the mixture back to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn the heat to low.

In a large stainless-steel bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Temper the egg mixture by adding 1 cup of the warm corn and milk mixture from the saucepot. Add this egg mixture back to the saucepot on the stove along with cayenne pepper. Stir continuously on low heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens.

Using a fine sieve, strain the mixture into a large bowl, pushing all the liquids through. Discard the solids. Refrigerate the ice cream mixture overnight. The next day, add the mixture to an ice cream maker and process according to machine instructions. Freeze any leftover ice cream in airtight containers.

To serve, top with Pickled Strawberry Sauce.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Pickled Strawberry Sauce

1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup white balsamic vinegar
1-3/4 cups small, fresh strawberries
2 sprigs thyme

In a 12-ounce Mason jar, add the sugars, salt, and hot water. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Add the vinegar and let it cool to room temperature. Add the strawberries and thyme, fully immersing the strawberries in liquid. Cover the jar and let it steep for one day in the refrigerator.

Chef’s Tip: “Use 40-percent butter fat heavy cream for the ice cream because it doesn’t curdle easily when cooking. The extra fat prevents the ice cream from freezing too hard.”

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