vanillacornice cream

Outrageous But Necessary: Corn and Cream Ice Cream

Right after savagely taking a bite into a fresh ear of corn, right in front of the cashier at the Farmers Market, I felt compelled to explain that its raw, sweet, flavor reminds me of the Corn and Cream ice cream from the Chiandoni heladerí­a in Mexico City. A staple from my childhood days.

With a bit of nostalgia washing over me and in the mood of snapping that last piece of summer from this year, I brought back a full basket of corn. I would make one last batch of summer flavored ice cream, just as the stores begin to sell Halloween decorations, shockingly early, if you ask me.

So I called Chiandoni. To see if they would share their recipe. Also to talk about those outrageous flavors that I so crave…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 1
Of course, the exotic and colorful variety of ice cream flavors at Chiandoni is not unique in Mexico. There are many heladerí­as and paleterí­as that have just as wide a variety…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 2
Like this smaller chain from Valle de Bravo called La Flor de Valle, pictured below. Aside from Zapote, Mamey, Cajeta, Mantecado, Nata and Chongos Zamoranos they have a delicious version of Arroz con Leche. Or the much bigger chain of La Michoacana, famous for its creativity.

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 3
But the Corn and Cream ice cream from Chiandoni, in my memories, had no match. An ice cream shop opened in 1939 by a 14 year old young Italian immigrant from Udine, called Pietro Chiandoni, it began to combine the artistry of Italian ice cream making with wild Mexican ingredients.

Carmen Montaño, who now runs the second Chaindoni of Mexico City, and who has worked there for 40 years, told me that Corn and Cream ice cream, is the most popular from their 30 flavors. And it has nothing more than corn, whole milk, cream and sugar. However, they have always paid a close attention to detail: ingredients matter, but, the process too.

See? Look at the corn. You can see why I needed to take a bite…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 4
As I was re-testing the Chiandoni recipe, Fany Gerson, a pastry chef born and raised in Mexico City who just came out with an absolutely gorgeous Mexican desserts book, My Sweet Mexico, told me she has a recipe for corn ice cream in there too…

As she says, “The culinary diversity of corn is manifested in the incredible array of preparations. It’s mostly associated and used in savory ways but has sneaked its way into various sweet ones and corn ice cream is absolutely one of the best.”

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 5
Fany, different from Chiandoni’s take, aside from adding milk, cream…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 6

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 7
…and corn…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 8
…adds egg yolks in there too. In her view, that custardy base enhances the creaminess of the corn.

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 9
It is an extra step, but it is completely worth it.

You just have to make sure that the eggs don’t curdle, by whisking some of the simmering milk mixture into the yolks and tempering them…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 10
…before you whisk them right back into the rest of the milk mixture and let it gently simmer…

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 11
Different from Chiandoni, Fany also adds vanilla, giving it a complementing layer of flavors.

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 12
Leaving some corn kernels out of the blender, gives the ice cream a welcoming crunch and texture.

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 13
In the end, the ice cream has a rich feel.

It reminds me of the cookie dough ice cream that you find here in the US. But with a twist. Imagine something along the lines of sweet corn bread dough, and turn it into ice cream…

That’s what it tastes like.

Corn and Cream Ice Cream 14
Luckily for New Yorkers, Fany started a popsicle business, La Newyorkina. Which hopefully will expand to ice cream making and a sibling in DC too…

But while that happens, you can run to the Farmers’ Market stand before they close for the Summer, to grab those remaining pieces of summer corn, and make this ice cream at home.

It’ will help you to transition smoothly and sweetly from Summer to Fall.

P.S. For the ice cream in the photo, I adapted Fany’s recipe. I reduced the number of egg yolks, skipped the straining of the puree of the mixture as I love it with a more rustic feel, and didn’t simmer the cobs (my monsters love to make sculptures with those…).

Outrageous But Necessary: Corn and Cream Ice Cream

Helado de Elote, Adapted from Fany Gerson

Recipe Yield

4 servings

Cooking time

3 hours 30 minutes

Rate this recipe

4.50 from 2 votes


  • 3 ears of fresh corn shucked
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup granulate sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

To Prepare

  • Remove the kernels of the corn by holding the ear with one hand straight up over a kitchen towel (this will help keep the kernels from going all over the place). Be sure to use a very sharp knife or serrated knife to cut them off. Place the kernels of corn in a saucepan with the milk, heavy cream, 1/2 cup sugar and place over moderate heat, stirring until it comes to a boil. Turn off the heat and allow the ingredients to steep for one hour, covered.
  • Remove about one cup of corn but don't throw it out. Puree the mixture in the pot with an immersion mixer or blender. Bring this to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk the yolks with the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. When the liquid comes to a boil whisk in about half of it to the yolks and stir rapidly so you don't make scrambled eggs. Return to the pot and cook over low heat until the mixture covers the back of a spoon. Add the vanilla. Return the reserved corn to the ice cream base and pour into a container. Let it cool and place a piece of plastic film directly on top and chill in the refrigerator. Freeze according to the manufacturers directions of your ice cream maker.


13comments inOutrageous But Necessary: Corn and Cream Ice Cream

  1. Mike wilmoth

    Aug 21

    Corn ice cream is just what we need on a hot day like today.temps were in the 90’s it felt like an oven.the ice cream looks creamy delicious and refreshing.pairs great with those beautiful juicy strawberries.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 22

      It’s perfect for a day like that, Mike…stay cool.

  2. Marcella Hill

    Aug 21

    I surrender. What this must be like is beyond my imagination.

    1. Pati Jinich

      Aug 22

      You should give it a try, Marcella!

  3. Connie

    Jun 27

    Pati, love your show & your enthusiasm. Do you have a recipe for Leche Candy? The one that I am looking for has goat milk, I think. (canned goat milk or fresh?) Or, maybe, a bit of goat milk & the rest full fat milk? It is not grainy, but, smooth to the tongue. We used to get it at the Monterey House restaurants here in Texas. No other candy tastes the same! Pralines, etc. …..
    Thank you,

    1. Pati

      Jul 05

      I know exactly what you are taking about! Dulce de Leche, hard candy, different from the liquidy Argentinean style Dulce de Leche. Will try to post a recipe soon!

  4. Itzy

    Nov 04

    Thanks for the recipe Patita,it remembers me my childhood too,my fave nieve de elote(del senior del carrito,con barril de madera y el hielo alrededor ji,ji…)I think their recipe did not have eggs because it did not have the american ice cream texture,kind of ic-e texture wich I love just because it makes me think is healthier.I just found still really good fresh corn and I am planning to make it.Do you think it will be ok if I live the yolks out?thanks.By the way I love you and the show,double thumbs up and bendiciones.

  5. Carlene Duncan

    Sep 03

    We frequently go to Yucatan and were recently served corn ice cream in someone’s home. It was delicious and I have been wanting to find the recipe. I want to prepare an authentic Mexican meal for our friends here in the States and this will definately be the dessert. Thank you.

  6. Scott Jochum

    Aug 06

    At a street cart in Mazatlan, near the cathedral, I bought a cone of elote ice cream. My wife thought I was nuts, even though she was free to order a cone of any flavor she wanted, she only wanted a taste of mine. Anyway, when I’m in Rome (Mazatlan,) I do as the Romans (Mazatlecos) do. The corn ice cream was delicious!

  7. Burton Haynes

    Jul 28

    Hello. I was just trying if I can post a comment here hehe.

  8. Patty Benson

    Apr 10

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe! I’ve been looking for a sweet corn ice cream recipe since I tried it (and fell in love with it!) in Brazil. Now I just have to wait until sweet corn is available again!

  9. Tamara Belt

    Sep 20

    Me encanta esta receta. Las fotos son espectaculares. Solo Con ellas estoy saboreando el helado. Gracias por enbellecer mi dia!! besitos

    1. Pati Jinich

      Sep 28

      Gracias Tamara!!! Pruébalo con el último elote de la temporada!!

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