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Monday, March 11, 2013

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Japanese is my way to go most of the time - food, culture, music, etc. Even ice cream. Despite my favorites being cookies and cream, or a non-caramel, non-super-nutty creamy flavor, I tend to love matcha and black sesame ice cream.

Matcha flavor is starting to get very popular, because of the antioxidant properties that green tea possesses. But what about black sesame? I've tried it only once, and I've even forgotten when and where, but it left an imprint on my mind.

I placed the custard into a metal container and into the freezer, then mixed it around with a fork every few hours (hence the fork marks). The texture is creamy enough, and is thoroughly DELICIOUS!!!
I had a sudden craving for the seed-speckled gray ice cream a few months ago, and it took me a very long time (due to procrastination) to get the ingredients and equipment that I needed. Black sesame seeds are a no-brainer, but finding the special pestle and mortar for the sesame seeds was a bit challenging.

I made the ice cream on 3rd March based on a recipe I found on

  • 2 tbsp black sesame seeds
  • 400ml whole milk (I used fresh, if there's any difference)
  • 70g sugar (I used 100g of castor, adjust to suit your taste)
  • 3 egg yolks (used 4, because the third egg gave me a double-yolk)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 3 tbsp black sesame paste (homemade, also a recipe from
  • 1 tsp vanilla (I just remembered that I forgot to put this in...)
  • 200ml heavy cream (I used European dairy whipping cream)
  • pinch of salt
This is step 5. You could grind your black sesame seeds as finely as you desire, but don't grind for too long, if not they'll start secreting their own oils and become pasty, unless that's what you're going for.
  1. Roast the sesame seeds if they're not roasted yet. Just put it into a pan over heat, then gently roast until they start popping, and releases a nutty aroma.
  2. Grind them, using the pestle and mortar or a food processor, very finely.
  3. Heat the milk in a pot over low heat, until it reaches just a simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and creamy.
  5. Add the honey, ground sesame seeds, and sesame paste (store-bought or homemade), and mix until well combined.
  6. While mixing, add the milk in a slow stream. The hot milk could easily just scramble the egg yolks, hence the slow stream.
  7. Pour the mixture back into the pot, and cook very gently until the custard thickens. Heat the mixture to around 80-83'C. DO NOT EXCEED. (Though I didn't have a thermometer)
  8. Remove from the heat, then place the pot into a bowl of iced water to cool down. Add vanilla.
  9. You could do this ahead of time: whip the cream with the salt until peaks form. If you live in a crazy humid place like I do, whip until foamy, chill in the fridge for a while, before taking it out again to continue whipping. This will make sure that it doesn't split.
  10. Add the whipped cream to the custard mixture.
  11. Fold it in gently, and do not over-mix.
  12. Chill the mixture until completely cold, then process as ice cream.
  13. You could put it into an ice cream maker, or transfer the mixture into a metal container like I did, stick it in the freezer, then mix it around with a fork every few hours, until the entire mixture is no longer liquid-y. 

I would gladly get down and dirty to make the food that I like, but this is one of the foods that I'll not be making in the near future. The grinding, the mixing, the timing, the washing, and the SHEER AMOUNT OF EQUIPMENT that I used. I'd rather make a tiramisu cake from scratch (baking my own savoiardi, etc). Recipe here. (I've gotta update this...)

Home-made black sesame paste. Pretty easy to do, but be sure NOT to put it into a jar like I did, if you're going to use it immediately.
For the black sesame paste, sufficient for the recipe above:

Roast 3 tbsp of black sesame seeds (it will release a nice, nutty aroma), then transfer into a suribachi mortar, and grind with the surikogi pestle, until the seeds secrete their oils, and the ground seeds become moist. You could also use a food processor for this. Transfer into another container, add 3 tbsp of honey (ratio of ground seeds to honey is 1 : 1), mix, then set aside.

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