17 Sep Sweet Corn & Candied Hatch Chile Ice Cream
In the spirit of savoring every last bit of summer produce before we bid it adieu until next year, I made this Sweet Corn & Candied Hatch Chile Ice Cream. Chiles in ice cream? Why not? Every August Austin goes crazy for New Mexico Hatch Chiles. At every restaurant you visit, a hatch dish is featured. Hatch enchiladas, Hatch tacos, Hatch lobster rolls…and on and on. Why do the cooks of the world get to have all the fun? Those of us that lean towards the sweeter side of life want to take part in the Hatch madness too! Enter candied chiles. Sweet, spicy & crunchy – the perfect compliment to end-of-summer sweet corn.
I first had corn ice cream at Austin’s own, Uchiko; a creation of James Beard Best Chef: Southwest winning chef, Tyson Cole. My colleagues and I were brought four flavors of homemade ice cream and asked if we could identify the flavor of each. Spoiler: one of them was corn.
Corn + ice cream was such an unexpected flavor combination that it took us a few minutes to figure out what we were tasting. Sweet, nutty and perfectly balanced by the creamy texture of the dairy. Damn good stuff. I’m not going to claim that mine even competes with Tyson Cole’s…after all, from what I hear he has some fancy shmancy multi-thousand dollar ice cream maker…but this is a great at-home alternative to satisfy my unique craving.
I realize this post is coming at you a little late in the season for Hatch chiles. My apologies. I got caught up in this, this & this. But don’t fret. If you can’t find Hatch chiles, jalapenos or even Serrano peppers (for a milder flavor) would make great substitutes. Just remember that the more seeds you include in the candying process, the more spice you will get from your pepper.
Before diving in, I did quite a bit of research on candying peppers. Many of the tutorials I found included multiple steps and long periods of waiting. Time for that? Ain’t got it. Instead, I found this simple, easy recipe with no down time. The peppers are candied to a chewy crunch which I didn’t mind one bit with the texture of the ice cream (I assume the more laborious process makes them less chewy, and more crunchy). If you’re not a chile person, I challenge you to at least try the Sweet Corn Ice Cream. Add in a salted caramel swirl instead. Yum.
- 2 hatch chiles
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 ears sweet corn, cut from the cob
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup sugar
- Pinch of kosher salt
- tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup sugar*
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper and set aside.
- Chop the chiles into small pieces.
- Bring the sugar and water to a boil and heat until the sugar is dissolved.
- Lower the heat, add the chiles and poach for approximately 20 minutes.
- Drain the chiles and place on cookie sheet. Note: save the sugar mixture to use in cocktails for a kicked up simple syrup!
- Bake the chiles for about an hour, until crisp. Let cool.
- Combine corn, cobs, cream, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring mixture just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and let sit for an hour.
- After an hour, remove the cobs and pour mixture into a blender. Blend until mixture is as smooth as you can get it (approximately 5 minutes) then strain through a fine mesh sieve.
- Pour strained mixture back into the saucepan over low heat.
- Whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes.
- Gradually whisk in ½ cup warm cream mixture into egg yolk mixture to temper then whisk yolk mixture into saucepan with remaining cream mixture.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, 2–3 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Pour custard into a medium bowl and set over a bowl of ice water; let cool, stirring occasionally.
- Once cool, process custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Once frozen, fold candied Hatch chiles into ice cream.
- Transfer to an airtight container; cover. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours and up to 1 week.
- *Depending on the sweetness of your corn, you may want to decrease the amount of sugar in the recipe.