Blueberry Ice Cream Sundae


Try this ice cream sundae recipe from Gramercy Tavern chef Nancy Olson for an unforgettable dessert. Photo credit: Bill Bettencourt


  • 6 cups fresh or thawed frozen sweet corn kernels (from about 6 ears), cobs reserved (if using fresh)

  • 4 cups milk

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 6 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  • 1 ⅛ cups sugar

  • 12 large egg yolks

  • 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt

  • 2 ½ cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries

  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 ¼ cups fresh sweet corn (from about 1 ½ ears)

  • cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for bowl

  • 2 tablespoons popcorn kernels, air-popped (about 6 cups popped)

  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup

  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • cup heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar

  • teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Nancy Olson's Mini Cornbread Muffins, for garnish


  1. Make the ice cream: Set a large bowl in an ice-water bath; set aside. In a large saucepan, bring corn, corn cobs (if using), 3 1/2 cups milk, heavy cream, corn syrup, vanilla bean seeds and pod, and sugar to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, to prevent sugar from sticking to the bottom of saucepan.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup milk until well combined. Remove corn mixture from heat; slowly add about a third of the hot corn mixture into egg mixture, whisking constantly until combined. Pour egg mixture back into saucepan with corn cobs, whisking constantly. Return saucepan to medium-high heat. Whisking constantly, cook until custard mixture coats back of a wooden spoon, 4 to 5 minutes; stir in vanilla extract and salt.

  3. Pour custard mixture into bowl set in ice-water bath; let cool completely. Transfer custard mixture to refrigerator and let chill overnight.

  4. Remove corn cobs from custard mixture, squeeze out any excess liquid; discard cobs. Transfer custard mixture to the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer, discarding solids.

  5. Transfer custard mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Keep ice cream frozen in an airtight container up to 5 days.

  6. Make the compote: Place 1 1/2 cups blueberries and sugar in a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, pressing on berries until they burst and mixture begins to look syrupy. Add corn kernels, stir to combine and immediately remove from heat.

  7. Stir in remaining cup of blueberries. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate until cool, up to 24 hours.

  8. Make the popcorn: Line a baking sheet with a nonstick baking mat; set aside. Butter a large heatproof bowl and add popcorn to bowl; set aside.

  9. Heat sugar, 3 tablespoons butter, and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over low until butter and sugar melt. Increase heat to medium and cook, stirring, until sugar mixture becomes golden brown. Remove from heat and carefully add vanilla and salt (mixture may splatter slightly). Pour sugar mixture over popcorn; stir until popcorn is completely coated.

  10. Turn popcorn out onto prepared baking sheet, working quickly to separate kernels; let cool completely. Transfer popcorn to an airtight container until ready to use, up to 1 week.

  11. Make the whipped cream: Place all whipped cream ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk until soft peaks form.

  12. Place two spoonfuls of blueberry compote in each of 6 large parfait glasses; top with two scoops corn ice cream. Add a large handful of toffee popcorn to each glass and top with another scoop of ice cream. Top each with another spoonful of compote and a dollop of whipped cream. Garnish with remaining toffee popcorn and serve immediately with cornbread muffins.

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