For the Sweet Corn Gelato:
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut kernels from ears of corn; reserve cobs. On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, roast corn kernels until slightly golden, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool, then purée in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
- Whisk yolks and sugar until light and fluffy; set aside.
- In a saucepot over medium-low heat, combine naked corncobs, heavy cream, and salt. Heat until barely simmering but not boiling.
- Slowly pour the hot liquid mixture into the sugared yolks, whisking rapidly between pours to prevent scrambling.
- Return mixture to saucepot over low heat. While continuously stirring with a wooden spoon, watch closely as mixture begins to thicken into a custard. Once thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon, remove from heat.
- . With a fine mesh sieve, strain mixture into a bowl. Add corn purée. Place over an ice water bath, stirring occasionally until chilled to prevent a skin from developing. Place in refrigerator with a light blanket of plastic wrap on surface until ready to spin.
- Prepare an ice cream or gelato machine as instructed and follow manufacturer’s directions for spinning frozen desserts. Transfer gelato to a chilled container.
For the Caramel Sauce:
Sauce will keep for up to 2 months in refrigerator.
- Combine in heavy-bottomed pot in this order: water, sugar, light corn syrup, and salt.
- Over medium-high heat, bring mixture to gentle boil and reduce heat to low. Keep simmering until liquid reaches a deep amber color. Remove pot from stove and let rest for 5 minutes.
- While whisking—carefully to avoid burns—add heavy cream, butter, and vanilla extract.
- Let caramel cool completely, stirring occasionally, then store in airtight container in refrigerator.
For the Caramel Corn:
- Using a 4-quart pot with lid, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add kernels.
- When kernels start to pop, hold lid onto pot and gently shake pot on and off burner.
- Remove from heat when time between popping slows to 5 seconds.
- Pour 1 cup of popped corn into a bowl. Pour the other 4 cups into a separate bowl.
- In another pot, combine water, both sugars, light corn syrup, and butter. Heat over medium-low to 300 degrees on a candy thermometer.
- Remove from heat and gently stir in baking soda and salt. Mixture should fizzle.
- Spray a wooden spoon with cooking spray and gently fold caramel mixture into bowl with 4 cups of popped corn.
- Add remaining 1 cup of popped corn. Evenly coat popcorn.
- Lay out an even layer onto lightly greased sheet tray and let cool.
To assemble: Blend 1 cup sweet corn gelato with 1/ 2 cup milk until smooth and creamy. Pour into tall glass, top with caramel sauce, and garnish with caramel corn.