While in Hong Kong a couple of years ago, I fell in love with the warm black sesame mochi often served as dessert. I loved the combination of just barely sweet but incredibly rich nuttiness and chewy glutenous rice. Kind of like a heated Abba Zabba. Sort of. The thing is, these little treats always look slightly evil to me. Like maybe something a giant hairy black spider might lay. Creepy. And yes, completely unappetizing.
So, when thinking of a final scary treat for the month of October, these came to mind. Alas, mochi are a step or 27 above my technical skill level. But I tell you what isn’t: ice cream. I found this recipe on the blog Just One Cookbook. It all starts with black sesame seeds.
I found these at Whole Foods. What I couldn’t find without ordering online was black sesame paste. No worries though, the Blogess at Just One Cookbook gives an easy recipe for sesame paste from scratch.
Once you are armed with both your black sesame seeds and your black sesame paste, you do a little grinding. I find using a pestle and mortar very satisfying.
Both the paste and ground sesame seeds are added to a mixture of honey, sugar and eggs.
Once combined, heated milk is slowly incorporated (don’t want to scramble those eggs).
Next, the whole lovely mess is heated and stirred until thickened.
Into an ice bath. Behind the scenes, I was whipping some cream with a sprinkle of salt.
I’ve made ice cream a dozen or so times using varying methods and this one was new. The now softly peaked whipped cream is folded into the sesame mixture.
Then everything is cooled in the fridge for a few hours. Only when the mixture is completely chilled is it time to fire-up the ice cream maker. Yes, ours is orange. This shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows TD. At this point, the custard was a beautiful dark grey color–really lovely, but not evil enough for my purposes. So, I added three drops of black gel food coloring.
After about 20 minutes of churning, you’ve got soft-serve, so into the freezer to harden.
No self-respecting ghoulish sundae would be complete without a a sauce. Here I just added a little bit of sugar and lemon juice to a pint of fresh raspberries. Blackberries would be good too. Or fudge.
And that my friends, is how you make a black widow sundae. Rubber spider definitely required. Unfortunately, good photography appears to be optional. My apologies!
The fruit sauce with the nutty ice cream turned out to be a delicious combination. Black sesame ice cream tastes very close to peanut butter so the bright fruit note was a nice contrast.
My Halloween playlist. Dude, you already knew I was a nerd.
Black Sesame Ice Cream
from Nami of Just One Cookbook
- 2 Tbsp. roasted black sesame seeds
- 400 ml (roughly 1 2/3 cup) whole milk
- 70g (2.5oz, roughly 1/3 cup) sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 3 Tbsp. black sesame paste (or Homemade Black Sesame Paste) [TMH note–I used a mini-prep instead of a regular-size processor with good results]
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 200 ml (Take away 2 Tbsp. of 1 cup) heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- If the black sesame seeds are not roasted yet, put the sesame in a (non-stick) fry pan over medium heat and stir until they start popping. They will start releasing a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and cool.
- Grind black sesame seeds very finely.
- In a small pot, bring the milk to a simmer and remove from heat.
- Whisk sugar and egg yolk together until pale yellow.
- Add in honey, black sesame seeds, and black sesame paste and whisk until well combined.
- Add the milk into the sesame mixture in a slow stream.
- Pour the mixture into the small pot over medium-low heat. Stir until the custard thickens and reach around 80C (176F) degree. Don’t exceed 83C (181F) degree since egg yolk will get cooked.
- Remove from heat and cool down the pot in a large bowl filled with iced water. Add vanilla.
- Clean the stand mixer bowl and now whisk together the heavy cream and a pinch of salt until peaks form.
- Add the whipped cream into the cooled sesame mixture. Fold in but do not over mix it. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.
- Process the mixture in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions (usually about 25 minutes). Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze it for several hours before serving.
- If you are not going to use ice cream maker, then transfer the mixture to a container and put it in a freezer. Stir every few hours (3-4 times) to break up the ice crystals until it’s completely frozen.