Recipe: Chillin’ Out with the Hot Knives’ Toasted Corn Ice Cream

A seasonal sampling of the L.A. cooking duo’s shiny new book, Lust for Leaf

It’s no secret that we at Los Angeles magazine are big fans of Evan George and Alex Brown, the vegetarian cooking, beer-guzzling duo known collectively as Hot Knives. Our favorite scruffy, bike-riding, ingredient-obsessed roustabouts are out this week with their second cookbook, Lust for Leaf. The new compendium is stuffed like an ironic neon Speedo with plant-based, entertaining-focused recipes that are perfect for your next urban green space barbecue, say, or chicken coop christening party. Take their roasted corn ice cream, for example. These rich, subtly sweet scoops take advantage of summer’s signature crop that’s just now coming into its prime. Serve some alongside a slice of ripe stone fruit for a taste of L.A. summer.    

Toasted Corn Ice Cream
(From Lust for Leaf, Da Capo Lifelong Books)

4 ears of corn, in husk
4 limes, zested
2 tablespoons red chile powder
1 quart ice cream base (see recipe below)

1. If grilling, toss the unshucked ears of corn on the hot grill and put the lid on. Give them a quarter turn every 3 to 5 minutes until the outer husk is dry and toasted. Remove the ears and let cool. (If toasting in an oven, roast ears at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.)
2. Peel away the outer layers of husk and as much silk as you can. Place back on top of the grill to burn off extra silk. Leave the corn on the grill until about 70 percent of the kernels have browned slightly. (If toasting indoors, brown the ears on your stovetop burner.)
3. Slice off the kernels over a mixing bowl and reserve. Cut the cobs in half and put all of the corn bits in a medium saucepan with 1 quart of ice cream base custard (following instructions below). Keep this all in same container when you chill it down. When you’re ready to crank, leave kernels but make sure you remove the cobs.
4. Garnish with chile powder and lime zest.
Ice Cream Base

1 cup heavy cream
3 cups half and half
1 cup white sugar
4 large egg yolks
1. Combine the various bovine juices in a medium saucepan and heat on high flame until just before it boils; when the sides sizzle, and the surface is undulating, turn off the heat.
2. Whip the yolks into the sugar until thoroughly combined; color will turn pale yellow.
3. In single cup increments, very slowly incorporate the hot milk into the eggy sugar mix, whisking gently. When everybody’s all mixed, dump the combination back into the pot, and reheat on medium heat. (If you are making a flavored ice cream, you’ll add the flavor element now.) Stir this custard with a wooden spoon until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and holds a line when you swipe your finger across. (Do not boil. Unless you want very creamy and sweet scrambled eggs.)
4. Once the base is properly warmed, place it in a heat safe container, and chill in the fridge for at least two hours. Add to your ice cream maker of choice and process accordingly.