Cereal what? That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, the silky liquid you see above on the right is called cereal milk. And on the left is an ice cream made with this cereal-infused milk, sprinkled with caramelized cornflakes. I’ve seen it on David’s blog and can’t stop thinking about it ever since. The genius behind this idea is Christina Tosi, pastry chef/owner of Milk Bar, who, as a kid, never drank milk unless it was steeped in several bowls of sweet cereal. You must have heard of her before, since she’s been widely popular for some other creations, such as Crack Pie and Compost Cookies.
Before I came across David’s post, I had already came up with a very strict schedule for the months of August and September, which didn’t really involve an ice cream post. Even the slightest deviation meant disaster.
But seriously, who cares? We are talking about ice cream here.
So, cereal milk. It sounds pretty straight forward; pour milk on top of cornflakes and let steep. But keep in mind that you’ll cook the cereal milk with yolks, combine it with heavy cream, and later churn the whole thing in an ice cream machine – all of which will dilute the taste of infused milk. That means you need a much deeper cereal taste to begin with, which is made possible by caramelizing the cornflakes. Tosi’s secret ingredient comes into play: Milk powder. She calls it the MSG of baked goods.
Toss crushed cornflakes, milk powder, sugar, salt and melted butter in a bowl, spread the mixture out on baking sheets and bake in the oven until the milk powder and sugar starts to caramelize and turn a deep golden color.
It will look like this:
After bathing in milk for an hour and a couple of exhaustive straining sessions later, the cereal milk is ready.
Warning: At this point in the recipe, do not (I repeat: DO NOT) taste the cereal milk. I did and had to resist this urge to down the whole glass in one gulp and it wasn’t funny. I’m serious.
And here’s another thing I’m serious about… It involves what’s left behind, which I’d like to call “cereal mud”.
Silly me decided to go all Heston Blumenthal on this cereal mud and tried to turn it into a cereal cone.
Because I assume, as food bloggers, we are expected to get the most out of every gastronomical treasure – be it a farm animal or, in this case, a box of cereal.
I even came up with a homemade cone mold (since I don’t have one of these). I made a cone out of aluminum foil and stuffed it with rice to keep its shape while rolling.
I scooped out a quarter cup of mud and spread it thin between two parchment papers:
And rolled into a cone.
Although the shape was somewhat OK, the texture was nowhere near a respectable cone. It was way too soft. I then tried several methods: Dehydrated the mud in the fridge overnight (cracked all over after baking), 6 hours (cracked again), an hour (yes, cracked again), blended the mud, rolled it thin and baked again (same result) and then gave up.
Well, at least I’ve tried, right?
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll go and think about what else to steep in milk and make ice cream. And never ever try to bake a cone again.
CEREAL MILK ICE CREAM RECIPE
Makes almost 1 quart (1 liter)
For Caramelized Cornflakes (makes 18 oz; recipe adapted from Momofuku)
- 10 oz cornflakes
- 2 oz nonfat dry milk powder
- 4 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6,5 oz (one and a half stick) unsalted butter, melted
For Cereal Milk (approximately 1 cup):
- 4 cups whole milk
- 14 oz caramelized cornflakes
For Cereal Milk Ice Cream (makes approximately 3,5 cups):
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup cereal milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 4 oz caramelized cornflakes, to serve
- To prepare the caramelized cornflakes, preheat your oven to 275 F (140 C). Put the cornflakes in a large mixing bowl and crush them with your hands a few times. Combine milk powder, sugar and salt in another bowl, give it a stir and set aside. Add the melted butter to the cornflakes and then the sugar mixture and toss to combine. Spread out on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper and bake in the preheated oven until they caramelize, for approximately 35 minutes. Remove and let cool to room temperature.
- To prepare the cereal milk, combine 14 oz of caramelized cornflakes and milk in a large mixing bowl and let steep for an hour. Strain the milk with the help of a fine-mesh sieve (make sure to press on the cornflakes with a spatula to extract as much liquid as possible), strain once again (through a finer sieve or cheesecloth this time), pour it in a container and set aside.
- To prepare the cereal milk ice cream, pour the heavy cream in a medium bowl and place it in the fridge until needed. Combine cereal milk, sugar, salt and vanilla extract in a small pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
- In the meantime, in a medium pot, whisk together egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the yolks while whisking constantly. Place over medium heat and stir until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Pour the custard through a strainer into the chilled heavy cream and stir to combine.
- Chill the mixture overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Serve with the remaining caramelized cornflakes.