Saturday, June 1, 2013

Black Sesame Ice Cream

This is, hands down, my favorite new ice cream. All these years and I never knew this flavor existed until recently when I came upon a recipe for it in Diana Kuan's The Chinese Takeout Cookbook. Apparently, sesame ice cream has been popular for many years in Hong Kong, China and Japan. Perhaps in Taiwan, too, but I never came across it during my time there. The base is a vanilla ice cream (sans eggs) into which you incorporate ground roasted black sesame seeds. The roasted sesame seeds have a rich, nutty flavor that's almost like a cross between coffee and dark chocolate. So simple yet oh so good! 

This version I made is basically Diana Kuan's, with the only difference being that I upped the amount of vanilla extract from 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp., reduced the sesame seeds from 1/4 cup to 2 tbsp., and I stirred the ground sesame seeds into the ice cream base before pouring it into the ice cream maker. Next time I might try using seeds from a vanilla bean instead of the vanilla extract. 

2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp roasted black sesame seeds

1. Prep your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.

2. Stir together 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a heavy saucepan over medium-low heat and stir until sugar is just melted (you do not have to bring the mixture to a simmer or boil).

3. Pour the mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, and the vanilla extract. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the frig for at least 3 hours or overnight. 

4. Grind sesame seeds in a spice grinder or coffee grinder (pulse for several seconds until finely ground - it doesn't take long).

5. Take the chilled ice cream mixture out of the refrigerator and stir the ground sesame seeds. Pour into the ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. It takes about 35-30 minutes in my Cuisinart. Do not over mix - ice cream should have the consistency of a soft serve.

6. Pour ice cream into a freezer-proof container and chill several hours or overnight. 

7. To serve, take ice cream container out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping into individual bowls. 

Roasted black sesame seeds, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla extract.

Combine 1 cup heavy cream, sugar and salt in saucepan and stir over medium low heat until sugar is just melted.

Should be nice and smooth when sugar has melted (do not bring to a simmer or boil).

Pour mixture into a bowl and stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, 2 cups whole milk, and vanilla. Cover and chill in the refrigerator 3 hours or overnight.

Grind the sesame seeds (I use a Mr. Coffee coffee bean grinder).

Diana Kuan's recipe calls for gradually adding the sesame seeds after you've poured the ice cream base into the ice cream maker. I did this the first time around, but found it easier just to blend the sesame with the ice cream base and then pour the whole mixture into the machine. 

Let the mixture churn for about 25-30 minutes or until ice cream has a soft-serve consistency.

Pour into a freezer-proof container, cover and freeze several hours or overnight.

Take ice cream out of the freezer and let sit at room temperature for a few minutes before scooping out. Yum!

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