While it may sound odd at first, toasted black sesame is an extremely popular flavor in Japan. In fact, you can find black sesame mochi, kit kats, taiyaki, and of course black sesame ice cream. This simple ice cream recipe uses the regular, common ingredients – you only need to get yourself a jar of toasted black sesame paste!
Black sesame ice cream is one of the more unique ice cream flavors, so you might think it weird at first taste. However I personally find it strangely addicting. After you get over the initial ‘wait, is this dessert…savory?’ question, you find a delightful playfulness of flavor that makes for a very elegant dessert. This ice cream also makes a great palate cleanser in between courses if you are having a large dinner party as the toasted sesame flavor meshes with so many other Asian flavors.
The only difficult ingredient would have to be the black sesame paste. If you don’t live nearby a Japanese or Asian market you will have to order it online. I use Marumoto Jun Neri which is always available on Amazon, and at plenty of Asian import stores. It is also the best packaged black sesame paste I’ve tasted outside of Japan.
What Is Black Sesame Ice Cream?
Black sesame ice cream is a popular frozen dessert in Japan and a good example of east meets west in Japanese cuisine. In fact, the Japanese actually have a word for imported dishes that they have made their own: yoshoku!
The ice cream uses a standard French style custard base, but it gets combined with black sesame paste (neri goma). Then it is simply chilled and churned like normal.
Is Black Sesame Paste The Same As Black Tahini?
While they may look and sound the same, Japanese black sesame paste and black tahini are not the same. You should not use black tahini in this recipe. The difference? Japanese black sesame paste is toasted before grinding, whereas tahini is not. Toasting the seeds brings forth the amazingly nutty and complex flavors.
What You’ll Need
As with all of my ice cream recipes on Scoops of Delight, you need an ice cream machine. The exact style and brand does not matter too much but you do want one that is decent quality. I personally use the Smeg ice cream maker. The only issue with it is that you need to already have a Smeg stand mixer – which can be quite pricey. While there are plenty of recipes for no-churn ice creams, I often find a properly churned ice cream magnitudes better.
Some other things you will need for this homemade ice cream recipe are:
- Mixing Bowls
- Steel Pans (I personally find steel the best for making ice cream, but you can use any as long as you are careful about the temperature.
- Rubber Spatula
- Sealable Container (The best thing to use to store homemade ice cream is plastic in my opinion. You want something that is more flat than tall as it provides more surface area to quickly freeze in a home freezer).
- Kitchen Scale (optional, but recommended as almost all of my recipes use metric as it is more precise than imperial for most home cooks).
How To Make Black Sesame Ice Cream
The ingredients needed to make black sesame ice cream at home are commonplace. The key ingredient is the black sesame paste so you most likely will have to get that specifically for this recipe. Another ingredient I use in this recipe is a tonka bean. While it is optional, I find it really enhances the natural toasted black sesame flavor in the final product.
Homemade Black Sesame Ice Cream Ingredients
400 ml Heavy Cream (36% fat or higher)
200 ml Milk (3.5% fat)
150 grams Sugar
4 large Egg Yolks
1/4 tsp Salt
30 grams Black Sesame Paste (this is about 2 tablespoons. Make sure you are getting real Japanese black sesame paste, and not just black tahini).
1 Tonka Bean (finely grated or microplaned. You can substitute one vanilla bean pod if you want as they have a similar-ish flavor profile).
To start, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until you have a homogenous paste. Set aside.
In a large pan gently heat up the milk until it begins to steam. Add a bit to the egg and sugar mix to temper the yolks (as we beat the yolks with sugar beforehand there’s very little chance of cooking the yolks so don’t stress). Then move the whole bowl of egg mix into the pan and whisk to combine. Whisk in the black sesame paste, salt, and grated tonka bean if you are using it. Continue to whisk the mix on low heat until you notice it begin to thicken – about 5 minutes.
Take the pan off the heat and whisk in all the heavy cream. Move the black sesame ice cream base to a jar or container and place in the fridge to chill completely. Depending on the strength of your refrigerator you may have to wait quite a few hours – you never want to churn warm or even room temperature base.
Add your black sesame ice cream base to your ice cream machine and let run according to your machine’s instructions. The goal is to gain anywhere from 20% to 50% in volume through the pumped in air during the churning process. When your ice cream is the consistency of soft-serve, move it to a sealable container and place in the coldest part of your freezer to freeze completely (overnight is best).
Black Sesame Ice Cream
- 1 Ice Cream Maker
- 1 Saucepan
- 1 Microplane | optional
- 1 Mixing Bowl
- 1 Rubber Spatula
- 1 Whisk
- 1 Sealable Container
- 400 ml Heavy Cream 36% fat or higher
- 200 ml Milk 3.5% fat
- 150 grams Sugar
- 4 large Egg Yolks
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 30 grams Black Sesame Paste this is about 2 tablespoons. Make sure you are getting real Japanese black sesame paste, and not just black tahini.
- 1 Tonka Bean finely grated or microplaned. You can substitute one vanilla bean pod if you want as they have a similar-ish flavor profile.
- In a small bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Set aside.
- Place the milk in a large pan and gently heat up until steamy. Do not heat too fast nor at too hot a temperature or you will split the milk and have to start over.
- When the milk is hot pour a little into your egg/sugar bowl and whisk to temper, then move the egg/sugar/milk mix to the pan and whisk to combine everything.
- Add the black sesame paste, salt, and grated tonka bean if you are using it. Whisk everything together and continue to whisk as you keep the pan on low heat until thickened (about 5 minutes).
- Take off the heat, whisk in the heavy cream and move to a sealable container or jar. Place in the fridge to chill.
- When the black sesame ice cream base is chilled, you can place it into your ice cream machine and run it according to its instructions. The goal is to pump a lot of air in there and increase the volume anywhere from 20% to 50%.
- When the machine is done, or you have a nice soft-serve consistency for machines that don't stop automatically, move everything to a sealable container and put into the coldest part of your freezer. Serve when completely frozen.
Black Sesame Ice Cream
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