My second attempt was the Sweet Corn and Black Raspberry ice cream; a sweet corn ice cream base with black raspberry sauce swirled through. I’ve had this seasonal summer version in the Jeni’s shops before as well. It may sound odd to some, but trust me when I say that the sweet corn makes for great ice cream and you can really taste the milky sweetness of the corn.
I used fresh Michigan sweet corn, but was having trouble finding black raspberries so I opted to go with the traditional red raspberries. I knew that my version would lack the deep purple color, but the red raspberries would still give it a nice flavor.
The contrast of the slightly gooey, tart-sweet red raspberry sauce (it doesn’t fully freeze) with the creaminess and soft yellow color of the corn base is delicious. Even my husband, Josh, who rarely steers away from traditional flavors like chocolate, couldn’t get enough of this treat.
Make the sauce: Combine black raspberries and 1/2 cup sugar in a 1-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until thick, about 8 minutes; strain and chill.
Make the ice cream:
Prep: In a bowl, stir together 2 tbsp. of milk and the cornstarch and set aside. Slice kernels off cob of corn then ‘milk’ the cob by scraping it with the back of your knife to push the liquid into the bowl; reserve kernels and juice. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice water.
In a 4-qt saucepan combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, corn and juices and corn syrup, bring to a boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes. Turn off the heat and strain the mixture through a sieve into a bowl to remove the solids. Return the mixture to the saucepan and slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil over medium-high heat until slightly thickened, stirring with a heat-proof spatula, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
Chill: Slowly whisk the hot mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon freezer bag, seal the bag and submerge in the ice water for 30 minutes or until mixture is cold, adding more ice as needed.
Freeze: Pour the ice cream base into the frozen ice cream maker and freeze following manufacturer’s instructions. Alternate layers of raspberry sauce and ice cream into an air-tight storage container, beginning and ending with the sauce; don’t mix. Press a sheet of parchment paper against the ice cream surface and seal. Freeze at least 4 hours.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, Ohio is famous for their creative gourmet flavors and use of high quality local ingredients. I am a huge fan of the selection and make a point of stopping there often while my husband and I are in town visiting family. I’ve even blogged about Jeni’s in the past. That’s why I was thrilled to see the release of their new cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, in mid-June. I pre-ordered a copy and received it a day before it’s ‘official’ in-store release.
Last weekend I attempted one of my top-five favorite Jeni’s flavors: Salty Caramel. I was a little intimidated because of a warning on the page about the technique used to create the caramel. I appreciate that they let me know that dry-heating the sugar (without any liquid) makes the process faster, but also more likely to burn the sugar so it requires a very close eye. Despite my reservations the recipe went smoothly thanks to the well written step-by-step instructions.
In general the Salty Caramel ice cream I made in my kitchen was very similar in taste to the shop version. It had rich buttery caramel overtones and subtle salty undertones that complement the sweetness perfectly. The only detail that I felt was missing from the book, were suggestions on the best types of storage containers. I used an air-tight plastic bowl with with fitted lid and I ran into a little bit of an icy texture on top after storing it in the freezer, even after letting it sit at room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before serving (as the book recommends). But, that has not stopped me from enjoying a dish of Salty Caramel goodness for the last several nights!
I was surprised that the book gave away so many of their signature recipes, but I’m also thrilled! I live three hours away from the closest Jeni’s so it’s not always easy to swing by for a scoop and the retailers in the area are a bit costly for a pint. Plus, the enjoyment of making it yourself cannot be replaced.
Jeni’s Ice Cream is a must for visitors and locals in Columbus. Every time I’m in town visiting my in-laws for a long weekend I go to one of the Jeni’s locations at least twice. My preferred stop is the one in the Short North because it seems to be less hectic than the one inside North Market, plus it’s open late! They now have five locations in the Columbus area and they distribute to a few outside locations. Lucky for me one of the places that stocks pints of their ice cream isn’t too far away at The Produce Station in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but you’ll pay an arm and a leg here at $10/pint (yes, for a PINT!). It’s much cheaper to get it when you’re in Columbus, or you can order it online, too.
Jeni’s has a signature list of flavors that are available year round along with a rotating choice of seasonal concoctions. They do a great job of selecting local ingredients to make fantastic ice cream flavors for all types of palettes. Most of their selections are a bit more on the unusual side, like Cucumber Sake or Bangkok Peanut, but they have more kid-friendly choice like Honey Vanilla Bean or Belgian Milk Chocolate. They let you sample plenty of flavors before making your final choices and you can mix two or more flavors based on the size you choose.
On one recent visit I tried a scoop of seasonal Ohio Sweet Corn with Black Raspberries on top of my favorite, Gravel Road (a salty caramel flavor with smoked almonds mixed in). Who knew that corn would work so well as an ice cream flavor? I guess Jeni did! The taste of the corn was really pronounced and was great with the natural sweetness of the local black raspberries. The Gravel Road is always rich and smoky sweet with a nice crunchy texture from the almond pieces; I haven’t tired of it yet!
When a friend of mine drove from Akron to meet us this past weekend I told her that she had to be initiated into Jeni’s, she didn’t have a choice. I was proud of her for trying some interesting seasonal flavors like Lemon and Blueberry and Backyard Mint. She wasn’t certain about the combination, but in the end was really happy with how well they complimented each other.
On this visit I tried the Buckeye State seasonal flavor I missed the day before, and on top added the Brown Butter Almond Brittle which I was told went over well with Gravel Road fans. Yum! The Buckeye State was a peanut butter ice cream with chopped dark chocolate pieces throughout. How can you go wrong there? The counter server was absolutely right about the Almond Brittle flavor, definitely a hit with me! It reminded me of a sophisticated version of the Good Humor Toasted Almond ice cream bars from when I was a kid.
I often wish there was an actual Jeni’s Ice Cream store in the Ann Arbor area, but it’s probably safer for my waistline if they keep their locations in the Columbus area. Although, I was happy to hear that they’ll be opening a new location in the Clintonville section of Columbus in the near future which will be just down the street where we visit my in-laws. I’m looking forward to it!
My husband and I have had a hard time finding a good breakfast place in Columbus. After years of going to Columbus to visit my in-laws I think he and I finally found a breakfast spot we can agree on during this last trip. He loves Waffle House and I go as a favor to him, but I prefer a place with a little bit nicer atmosphere and with a little more creative food selection. Tasi Cafe opened in the Short North area of Coumbus a couple of years ago, the fact that it’s tucked away in a back alley is probably the only reason I didn’t find it earlier.
The first morning we stopped for breakfast I had a caramel roll and a side of grilled chicken apple breakfast sausage. The caramel roll was fantastic. Large, tender and the right amount of caramel and sweetness. The sausage was tasty, but I didn’t get much of the apple flavor. My husband tried their buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup and a side of regular sausage. I’m not one to be wowed very often by pancakes, but these were outstanding! I kept stealing bites from his plate. There were two plate-size pancakes that were the perfect texture and taste. Light, tender and fluffy with a rich buttermilk flavor that didn’t overpower and the syrup added a natural sweetness that was right on.
We went back the next day for breakfast. I had read several reviews that their banana French toast was incredible, but I thought “it’s French toast, how good can it be?” so I had to try it for myself. It was probably the best I’ve had. It was made with fresh cinnamon challah bread, caramelized bananas and maple syrup. It had lightly crisp edges, soft, but not soggy, center and the cinnamon flavor was well balanced. I also tried the sweet and spicy bacon, but was a little disappointed. It was good quality bacon and well cooked, but the “sweet” name implied more of a candied flavor that I found missing. The only other disappointment for me was that Tasi’s doesn’t add syrup to their espresso drinks and being a coffee wimp I only like mine flavored, but they’re probably delicious.
Jeni’s has fantastic creative ice cream flavors. I usually make a point to visit at least twice when we’re in Columbus for a long weekend. You won’t find your typical plain vanilla or chocolate here, the closest you’ll come is Honey Vanilla Bean and Belgian Milk Chocolate. Most of the flavors are little more adventurous and are made daily, but the staff is always more than happy to let you sample until you decide on your favorite. I’m a sucker for their Salty Caramel and the Gravel Road (Salty Caramel with smoked almonds added). Both are fantastic, but since you can mix and match flavors for the second “half” of a small scoop I usually add one of the ever changing seasonal flavors to the mix. This past weekend I had the Gravel Road with their seasonal Blackstrap Praline (bold molasses flavor with spiced pralines), fabulous! In Columbus Jeni’s has two locations, one inside of North Market and the other off High St. in the Short North. We usually go to the one on High Street because it tends to be less hectic and I can take more time sampling flavors!