Creamy, nutty, sweet, and somewhat savory, this Black Sesame Ice Cream got it all! Enjoy the unique flavor of Japanese ice cream at home!
Have you tried Japanese flavored ice creams such as Green Tea Ice Cream and Red Bean Ice Cream? I have another Japanese-flavored ice cream for you today, and it’s Black Sesame Ice Cream (黒ゴマのアイスクリーム).
Sesame seeds might seem unusual ice cream flavor, but for Japanese and Asian cuisine, black sesame flavor is commonly used in desserts.
Black Sesame Flavored Desserts
Popular desserts include black sesame macarons, purin (pudding), chiffon cake, mochi, bread, ice cream, and more. Chinese cuisine has black sesame sweet soup and mochi dumpling with black sesame filling. Black sesame is unique in the way it changes the dynamic of a dessert completely. Ordinary-looking desserts are transformed into a peculiar dark gray color, and it surprises you with a unique nutty toasty flavor.
Black Sesame Paste
One of the key ingredients for this black sesame ice cream is the black sesame paste. A jar of black sesame paste is sold at Japanese grocery stores or on Amazon.
With toasted black sesame seeds, you can make the paste yourself easily using a food processor.
Japanese Black Sesame Paste vs. Black Tahini
The black tahini is a common ingredient used in Middle Eastern cuisine. It is also called the sesame paste or sesame butter, but the difference is black tahini doesn’t require toasting the sesame seeds. After being pulverized into a paste, it is mixed with sesame oil and a little bit of salt.
For making Japanese sweets, you should be able to substitute with black tahini but bear in mind that it is unsweetened and may have a more pronounced bitter flavor. It is also more liquid because of the sesame oil. So you will want to add some honey and make any necessary adjustments if needed.
Black Sesame Ice Cream
- Gather all the ingredients.
- If the black sesame seeds are not roasted yet, put the sesame in a (nonstick) 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 2 Tbsp toasted black sesame seeds very finely.
- Whisk ⅓ cup sugar and 3 large egg yolks together until pale yellow.
- Add in 2 Tbsp honey, the ground black sesame seeds, and 3 Tbsp black sesame paste. Whisk until well combined.
- Microwave 1⅔ cups whole milk until hot throughout (or bring it to simmer in a small pot) and add to the sesame mixture in a slow stream. Mix at low speed for 30 seconds.
- Transfer the mixture into the small pot. Heat the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and reaches around 176ºF (80ºC). Don’t exceed 181ºF (83ºC) since the egg yolk will get cooked. To avoid salmonella, the egg must be cooked for at least 1 minute over 167ºF (75ºC).
- Remove from heat and cool down the pot in a large bowl filled with iced water. Add 1 tsp pure vanilla extract.
- Clean the stand mixer bowl and now whisk together 200 ml heavy (whipping) cream (¾ cup + 4 tsp) and ⅛ tsp Diamond Crystal kosher salt until peaks form.
- Add the whipped cream into the cooled sesame mixture.
- Fold in but do not overmix 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 an 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.