black sesame ice cream

I’m kicking myself for writing this now because it’s making me crave ice cream so badly.

Unfortunately I’m on an ice cream ban for 60 days.


We started Insanity this week, which means we’re back to strict, healthy eating.  After all, if we’re going to do this program, we might as well go all the way, and that means really watching what goes in our mouths.  It pains me – and I will probably start having fantasies about white bread just like the first time I did P90X – but I believe it will be worth it.  But enough about that, this is about black sesame ice cream.

This is probably one of the rare times where it’s perfectly normal for an ice cream to be gray with small black flecks throughout.  Generally, gray is an incredibly displeasing colour to the eye when it comes to food, but this ice cream wears it well.  I love the flavour of sesame in general – I use sesame oil liberally in just about everything I cook – so I was excited to find that black sesame ice cream recipes existed.  I simply adore desserts using black sesame, especially my mom’s songpyeon (a type of tteok) with the black sesame filling.  Yum!

So, let’s get started!  I used this recipe that I found on the good ole interwebz.

The usual suspects – cream, whole milk, eggs, sugar, sea salt, and the star of the show – black sesame seeds.  I picked up the black sesame seeds from my local Korean grocery store.

The first step is the toast the sesame seeds over medium heat in a non-stick skillet.  Toasting brings out the flavour of the seeds as the heat releases the oils.  Make sure to keep moving the pan so that they don’t start burning.  It only takes about 5 minutes; once the seeds start giving off a fragrant aroma, they’re ready to go.  Transfer them into a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Get out your trusty spice grinder to reduce the seeds into a fine powder.  Work in small batches.

Mmmmm… the seeds smell incredible!  As soon as I lifted the lid, my nose was hit with the toasty, nutty aroma of sesame seeds.  Yum!

Time to get the milk mixture cooking.  Whisk together the milk, sugar, black sesame powder and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium heat.  Keep stirring it until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove it from the heat and let it cool slightly.

I was impressed at how well I separated the eggs this time around (I usually break at least one or two).  Beat the egg yolks slightly and while whisking constantly, slowly add about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to temper the egg yolks.  Pour the tempered egg mixture into the hot milk mixture.

At this point, add the cream and cook the custard over medium heat.  It’s really smelling delicious!

The finished product, after about 10 minutes of cooking.

The recipe didn’t specify straining the custard, but I decided to do it anyway.  There were some large pieces of sesame seed that weren’t fully ground in the mixture that I wanted to strain out.  Plus, it’s always a good idea to strain the custard, just in case any of the egg yolk got scrambled in the cooking process.  There’s nothing worse than having scrambled egg yolk in your ice cream base.  Blech!

I like to let the custard chill in the fridge overnight.

I was so excited the next day to get the custard into my ice cream maker.

And voila!  Here you have it, an incredibly nutty and rich ice cream.  On my palate, it had a very faint chocolately note as well, which I found quite interesting.  This ice cream has a huge black sesame flavour and is just the right level of sweetness.  It’s basically the frozen version of my mom’s black sesame songpyeon filling, only smoother and without the tteok.

If you’re into ice cream with one, big flavour, definitely give this a try.

Black Sesame Ice Cream (recipe from Honest Cooking)

  • 1 cup (250 mL) whole milk
  • 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
  • 1/2 cup (80g) black sesame seeds
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups (500 mL) heavy cream
  • 6 large egg yolks

Toast sesame seeds in a non-stick skillet over medium heat, for 5-7 minutes. Grind in batches in a spice mill/coffee grinder.

Whisk together milk, sugar, black sesame powder, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat egg yolks until combined.  Temper the milk/sesame mixture into the egg yolks, first pouring a teaspoon of the milk/sesame into the eggs, mix, then add a few tablespoons more.  Now that the egg yolks have been tempered, pour back into milk/sesame mixture and stir well.

Add cream and set over medium heat. Stir constantly, making sure to carefully scrape the bottom of the saucepan with a heatproof spatula to minimize clumps. After about 15 minutes, the mixture should have thickened, so that a thin layer coats your spatula when lifting it out of the pan. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Transfer to a glass container or heavy-duty plastic Ziploc bag, and set in the fridge to cool completely (for a minimum of 1 hour, best for at least half a day).

Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Store in an airtight container and freeze before serving to allow ice cream to harden to a preferred consistency.


5 thoughts on “black sesame ice cream”

  1. Oh. My. God!! THAT is such a pretty ice cream, and I can almost smell the sesame seeds. This is just great, I love sesame anything, and I adore ice cream, so it’s a can’t lose recipe. I can’t wait to try this Cindy. Thank you for all the step by steps too, otherwise I may have worried in a couple of spots. (I’m kinda new at making the ice cream). Thank you SO much for posting this!

    60 days? YOU can do it! I know you can. Yes, it will be worth it, and at the end you guys can have a little celebration…..maybe with a tiny bit of black sesame ice cream? ;)

    1. Thanks Sarah! :) It’s an incredibly fragrant ice cream. Mmmmmm… it was sooo amazing.

      I think 60 days won’t be too bad. We’ve done 90 days before and we came out of it unscathed, so this should be a breeze (fingers crossed). The white bread fantasies haven’t started yet, which is a good thing!

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