The origins of corn domestication from teosinte, a wild grass, occurred in the Mexican state of Oaxaca; cobs found in the Guilà Naquitz cave have been dated to over 6200 years old. Somewhere down the line, a mutation naturally occurred in the genes that control sugar to starch conversion, and our delicious and aptly named sweet corn was born. The original dates can't be pin-pointed, but we know the Iroquois indigenous peoples were growing sweet corn prior to 1779, when the first cobs (called 'Papoon') were shared with European settlers. From that rich history the love affair with corn continues in numerous ways today, well beyond the original purpose of feeding hungry mouths.
While the myriad uses for corn abound, my favourite is as food for tongue and soul. Sweet corn being so perfectly sweet makes it an awesome candidate for dessert, as surprising as that may be to some. In Mexico, Indonesia, the Philippines, corn is found as a part of many confections. I love a sweet treat as much as the next person, but I strive to cut the sugar and allow the naturally luscious ingredients to shine. Today that means Sweet Corn Ice Cream. Stick with me here. Milky sweet kernels, rich coconut milk, a touch of sea salt, toasted coconut- this is a simple, naturally sweet ice cream that will have your tastebuds dancing in pleasure.
3 cobs Sweet Corn
2 cans full fat Coconut Milk (I love the ROAR brand, with no added thickeners)
1 + 1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Sea Salt
Optional: Sweetener such as honey, maple, or stevia, if that's your preference. I like it au naturel, but I'm all for free choice.
The How To:
If you have an ice cream maker, freeze that baby so it's ready to use. Follow your machines instructions, but most direct you to freeze the container for at least 24 hours prior to using.
Cut sweet corn from cobs, reserving the cobs and chilling the kernels. In a pot place the corn cobs, broken in two or three pieces, and coconut milk. Over medium heat bring the pot to a low simmer. Remove from heat and allow to sit for an hour, so the sweet corn flavour can infuse the milk. Use a spatula to clean and remove the cobs- you want to keep as much of the liquid as you're able. Cool the mixture, then pour into a blender along with 2/3 of the corn kernels and 1 cup of shredded coconut. Blend until smooth. Use a spoon to mix in the remaining 1/3 of corn kernels; you want those to remain whole.
Run the ice cream maker according to the directions, OR pour the mix into a flat baking tray that will fit in your freezer. If you're going the machine-less route, you'll want to freeze for at least 6 hours, occasionally removing and stirring the mixture. Depending upon the size of your machine you may need to run this in two batches.
While the sweet mix is magically converting to chilled ice cream, place the almost forgotten 1/2 cup of shredded coconut in a skillet over low-medium heat stirring frequently, until the shreds turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
Scoop up the now frozen bounty, sprinkle liberally with buttery toasted coconut, grab a spoon and kick back to enjoy.
I'm pushing the corn theme here, but this is reeeally delicious with a little salty, buttery popcorn...just sayin'.