In Hong Kong and mainland China, black sesame is as common an ice cream flavor as vanilla or chocolate is in the United States. After all, long before ice cream became popular in Asia, black sesame was a favorite ingredient for sweets, such as in the sesame balls served at dim sum, and black sesame dessert soup. One of the best versions of black sesame ice cream I’ve ever had this side of the Pacific is at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory in New York’s Chinatown. It is lightly speckled with ground black sesame, richly creamy, yet light and airy at the same time. The version that follows uses a light Philadelphia-style eggless base infused with the toasted black sesame and a hint of vanilla. The black sesame has an incredibly complex, nutty fragrance and flavor, almost like dark chocolate or French roast coffee. In fact, it pairs well with either, or topped with raspberries or strawberries, or simply by itself. The ice cream stores well in the freezer for up to a week, if the leftovers last that long.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- 0.125 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup black sesame seeds
- special equipment
- Ice cream maker
- Spice grinder
- Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the sugar, and salt in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- Pour the cream mixture into a bowl. Stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, the milk, and vanilla extract. Cover the mixture and chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When the mixture has chilled, grind the sesame seeds in a clean spice grinder. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, slowly pour in the ground black sesame, and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.