Hell is hot. Damn hot. And after a long day of stomping around and raising general havoc, it’s nice to come home to a frosty cold bowl of sweet black sesame ice cream.
This ice cream is a custard based ice cream, which means it’s thick, rich, soft, gooey, and with the addition of a secret ingredient (tapioca starch) it has a slight elasticity to it that means this ice cream doesn’t just melt in your mouth, it engulfs it with flavor.
Speaking of flavor, if you’ve never had toasted black sesame seeds, you’re missing out. With a subtle taste somewhat reminiscent of peanut butter and a slight twist of smokiness from the toasting, it’s a unique experience all unto itself.
But enough talking about it. Let’s make it!
For this recipe you will need:
1/4 cup black sesame seeds
5 tablespoons honey
3 egg yolks at room temperature (there are only two in the photo, but trust me…you want three)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt (I’m using black volcanic salt because, well, I like black and I can, but white is also fine.)
3 cups heavy cream
2 Tablespoons tapioca starch*
*A quick note on the tapioca starch. While it adds an interesting dimension to the texture of your ice cream and helps to ensure that it remains silky smooth and soft even after freezing, you will still be able to make this ice cream without any trouble should you be unable to find this ingredient at your local grocers.
We’re going to start by first toasting our sesame seeds in a skillet over medium heat. Make sure that you heat your seeds evenly by constantly stirring them. It doesn’t take long to toast them, only about 3 minutes or so. Because they are black, you won’t be able to see them toasting, but you will know they’re ready when they begin to make a popping/crackling sound and smell nutty. Be careful you don’t burn them.
Using a food processor, divide out and grind 3 tablespoons of your toasted sesame seeds. They should break down into a slightly gritty paste. Drizzle in two tablespoons of your honey and continue to grind the seeds until you end up with a smooth black paste.
In a bowl, whisk together your egg yolks, sea salt, the remaining three tablespoons of honey, the vanilla and the sugar. Once those are well mixed, add in both your sesame paste and the rest of your whole toasted sesame seeds.
Whisk to combine.
In a separate bowl, combine your cold cream and tapioca starch and mix thoroughly, trying to avoid any lumps (I’ve found it helps to sprinkle a thin layer of starch over the cream, allow it to absorb in, mix, add another layer, absorb, mix…etc.)
Once your starch and cream are well mixed, transfer it to a small saucepan and heat on your stove until it is warm but NOT boiling and all the starch and cream are thoroughly blended.
Slowly whisk this warm mixture into your sesame egg mix. Because you are mixing a warm liquid into eggs, be sure to go slowly to avoid curdling. A few spoonfuls at a time until you’ve tempered your egg mixture works well.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to the stove. Slowly heat your ice cream base up to 175F/80C, stirring constantly. Because this is a custard based ice cream, you should notice it thickening as it cooks.
Once it reaches 175F/80C, remove from the heat and allow it to cool in your fridge for about 4 hours or so.
After your ice cream base has fully cooled, pour it into your ice cream mixer and let it churn for around 30-45 minutes. It will end up with a slightly firmer ‘soft serve’ texture and should be easy to scoop and serve.
Serve with a sprinkle of more black sesame seeds and a tiny pinch of sea salt.
Your ice cream will store well in a sealed container in the freezer for up to two weeks…if it last that long.
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