The first time I had Humphrey Slocombe’s “Secret Breakfast” ice cream I was totally blown away… bourbon and corn flakes? Ridiculous… who would have known? Well Momofuku does a few variations on the corn flake dessert as well… they do ice cream and straight cereal milk to drink at their Milk Bar in New York.
At Ko, they do a more “refined” version, I guess you could call it. It turns out though that it’s actually super simple to prepare and really prettty amazing. After one trial with the corn flake custard on its own, I decided that a little bit of bourbon a la Humphrey Slocombe would be a nice addition to top it off. I thought about ways to incorporate the bourbon and settled on using it as a topping. I used a little bit to incorporate the gelatin but most of the bourbon flavor was in the topping. Next time I think I’ll experiment with using a little more.
The bourbon topping was my way of incorporating what I love so much about creme brulee – the crunchy sugary topping. I decided to just make the topping on the side though and crumble it on top. This eliminates the need for a torch …zzzzzzzzz…. I know, I just fell asleep too – how boring.
This custard uses gelatin instead of eggs to thicken – this does a couple of things. For one, it allows you to really control exactly how firm the custard gets based on how much gelatin you use. It also adds no extra flavor so it allows the flavor of the corn flakes to really shine through completely unaffected.
Corn Flake Custard
Adapted from Momofuku
Corn Flakes – 6 cups
Milk – 3 cups
Heavy Cream – 2 cups
Brown Sugar – 1/4 cup
Salt – 2 teaspoons
Gelatin – 4 grams
Bourbon – about 2 teaspoons (as needed)
Brown Sugar – about 1/4 cup
Step 1: Toast the corn flakes
350F in the oven for about 10 minutes or so. Until they’re nice and fragrant, brown and warm.
Step 2: Soak the corn flakes
While they’re still warm in the milk and cream for about 45 minutes. Any longer and the milk will be too starchy, according to The Chang.
Step 3: Warm the milk
Strain the corn flakes out of the milk mixture. Squeeze out as much of the milk as possible and then put it in the microwave for about a minute or a minute and a half. This is to make sure the gelatin dissolves in the milk.
Step 4: Dissolve the gelatin
If you’re using sheet gelatin, bloom it in some water. I was using powdered gelatin and I wanted something to dissolve it in before mixing it into the milk… so I put 1/4 cup of bourbon in the microwave for about 30 seconds and then dissolved the gelatin in that.
After the geltain is dissolved, pour the mix into your containers. You can use ramekins or molds, whatever. I used shot glasses and some little prep dishes since I don’t have any ramekins. Use what you’ve got.
Step 5: Make the topping
Pre-heat the oven to about 300F. While the custard is setting up (or anytime in advance, for that matter) you can make the topping. It’s easy – take a bowl of brown sugar, about 1/4 cup, and add bourbon a teaspoon or so at a time until it’s nice and sludgy. Pour it in a saucepan and heat it up for a few minutes until the sugar is totally dissolved and smooth. You can even cook it down a little bit to thicken. You’re essentially going to dry it out in the oven so the more water you cook out, the better. When you’re ready, pour it onto a baking sheet lined with a silpat or some parchment paper.
Toss it in the oven and let it dry out slowly. You’ll have to check on it periodically as the time will vary depending on how much moisture is left. As long as you don’t burn it, it’s pretty tough to screw this up… just let it dry out and crumble it when it cools. Done and done.