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Black Sesame Ice Cream and a Cookbook Giveaway

February 22, 2013
Black sesame seeds have a toasty, nuttier flavor than white sesame seeds and is a favorite flavor in Asian desserts.

Black sesame seeds have a toastier, nuttier flavor than white sesame seeds and is a favorite in Asian desserts.

Have you ever been struck by an incessant food craving that just won’t go away? (No, this has nothing to do with pregnancy.) It’s kinda like an earworm (click here for more info about this wonderful new word I just learned about on NPR), a song that lodges in your head and plays over and over again.

Most often, it’s a childhood snack or comfort food you crave–mom’s mac and cheese, Twinkies (RIP), or cherry-flavored jello. And it’s always, always, always, annoying because you simply can’t shake it off until you actually indulge it.

In my case, I’ve been fantasizing about glutinous rice balls in sugar syrup (also known as tang yuan,汤圆) for the last week or so. You know, those chewy white balls made from glutinous (or sweet rice) flour, the ones that burst open with one bite, releasing a lavalike flow of sweet black sesame paste?

So when Diana Kuan (who writes the marvelous blog appetiteforchina.com) invited me to participate in her Chinese New Year potluck to celebrate her new book The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, one recipe was calling, siren-like, out to me.

I’ve seen black sesame ice cream on menus before but I’ve never tried it, let alone attempted to make it. However, Diana’s recipe is so simple that my mind was made up before you could say “black sesame.” I whipped up the ice cream base in barely 10 minutes and the ice cream machine did the rest of the work.

The four hours the ice cream had to sit in the freezer to set seemed like a toe-tapping eternity. As soon as the timer went off, I scooped some out, sat down with a bowl of cool, nutty black sesame ice cream and ate my craving away spoonful by luscious spoonful.

~~~

If you’d like to win a copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me where and/or in what dish you’ve tried black sesame seeds (and even if you haven’t, leave a comment anyway)! I’ll select a winner at random on March 8th.

~~~

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Adapted from The Chinese Takeout Cookbook by Diana Kuan

ice cream scoop2Diana uses a light Philadelphia-style eggless base for this delicious dessert infused with a hint of vanilla and the more dramatic nutty fragrance and flavor of black sesame, which is almost akin to dark chocolate or French roast coffee. I lightened it up a little and used half-and-half instead of heavy cream for a fluffier gelato-like texture. If you can actually resist gorging, the ice cream stores well in the freezer for up to a week.

Makes: 1 quart
Time: 10 minutes, active

2 cups half-and-half, or heavy cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/∕8 teaspoon salt
2 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup black sesame seeds

Special equipment:
Spice grinder
Ice cream maker

Combine 1 cup of the heavy cream, the sugar, and salt in a large bowl and whisk until the sugar is completely dissolved.

Stir in the remaining 1 cup heavy cream, the milk, and vanilla extract. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour. (If you are in a hurry, skip this step).

Grind the sesame seeds in a clean spice grinder for about 5 seconds until they turn into a coarse powder. Don’t grind for too long as the seeds will turn into a paste.

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and slowly pour in the ground black sesame. Churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezersafe container and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.

~~~

Now for some disclaimers: I received a copy of this book as thanks for writing a blurb for the back cover. And in participating in this potluck, I’ll be given a copy of The Chinese Takeout Cookboook to share with one lucky reader as well as be entered in a giveaway. However, I am endorsing this book because it has awesome, easy recipes that I know you, my reader, will enjoy.

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37 Comments leave one →
  1. March 13, 2013 7:21 pm

    Apologies for the delay. The winner is Justin Schwartz of New York! Congrats, Justin!

  2. March 4, 2013 1:40 am

    I’ve had a pan-fried tofu encrusted in black and white sesame seeds with a hot and sweet chili sauce. It was incredible, but this ice cream sounds even better.

  3. Yohan permalink
    March 3, 2013 5:33 am

    The first time I had tasted black sesame seeds was in my childhood time. In the old days, there were sweets especially made for the wedding gifts. One of the sweets was peanut cookies with black sesame seeds on it.

  4. March 1, 2013 7:03 am

    I had a pretzel with puff pastry, a slice of brie cheese and lots of black sesame seeds on top, in the oven and … it was delicious!

  5. February 28, 2013 8:41 am

    i’ve tried so many recipes in the book, but now i have to try this one too

  6. February 27, 2013 3:28 pm

    I am loving all these ideas and stories! Please keep them coming!

  7. Le Phung permalink
    February 27, 2013 2:49 pm

    I never have black sesame ice cream before but I have had my share of dishes containing sesame (seeds or completely ground). They all tasted wonderfully. I can imagine how tasty that ice cream would be.

    My sister used to cell the sweetened ground sesame soup “the witch brew” when she was young, But it was also the same one that she would eat every time.

    Some people claim that sesame helps to keep the Asians hair from turning grey at advanced age. By all means, sesame keeps us in good shape.

  8. Lee permalink
    February 26, 2013 4:27 pm

    I haven’t cooked with black sesame seeds much, but I love to eat it!

  9. Pam permalink
    February 26, 2013 1:22 pm

    Being a Japanese American, I’ve eaten black sesame seeds all my life. What dish did I first have? Who knows? Could have been onigiri, ohitashi, or sekihan. I first had black sesame ice cream at an izakaya in Kyoto. I was hooked!

  10. February 25, 2013 11:10 pm

    This is the best recipe for a sweet tooth . My freinds went nuts over this icream at a gathering i had , Thank you so much . L . Maui Hi .

  11. Kat permalink
    February 25, 2013 2:05 pm

    Years ago we had a restaurant here that had black sesame seeds sprinkled on a sesame garlic shrimp dish. It was delicious, unfortunately the restaurant closed down. Thanks for the giveaway.

  12. February 25, 2013 12:12 pm

    Joy the Baker has a recipe for black sesame cookies, which I’ve made and liked.

  13. February 25, 2013 11:54 am

    Well…I purchased a pkg. I even stuck it in a box when I packed up to move just the other day. But I haven’t made anything with it yet. But packed away in yet another box and in storage is an ice cream maker that I also forgot I had. So maybe……when it all gets unpacked…..

  14. Carolyn permalink
    February 25, 2013 12:14 am

    Black sesame ice cream mochi was a first for me a few months ago.

  15. Geraldine permalink
    February 25, 2013 12:05 am

    I had black sesame ice cream for the first time last summer and loved it. Looking forward to trying out this recipe!

  16. February 24, 2013 10:20 pm

    So far I have only used black sesame seeds in cucumber salads, but will definitely look into other ways of trying them!

  17. Julie Kulak permalink
    February 24, 2013 10:03 pm

    I’m sure I have eaten black sesame seeds, but I have never cooked with them. They sound wonderful, I’ll have to experiment with them!

  18. Robin permalink
    February 23, 2013 7:56 pm

    toasted black sesame seeds go well with a ginger garlic salmon, as taken from Savory Sweet Life’s book by Alice Currah. just made it the other day and they definitely give the dish an extra kick!

  19. Jen permalink
    February 23, 2013 6:09 pm

    I’ve had the black sesame dessert soup and glutinous rice balls many times growing up and now I know how to make it myself, but I have yet to learn how to make this sesame encrusted pan seared tuna that I really enjoyed at a restaurant. This black sesame ice cream looks great too!

  20. domestic diva permalink
    February 23, 2013 1:48 pm

    I’ve added a handful to stir fries. They’re fantastic!

  21. February 23, 2013 12:58 pm

    This looks great! I wonder if I could freeze the mixture in an ice cube tray and then use a food processor to combine it instead of an ice cream mixture.

    My favorite black sesame treat is a black sesame and yuzu macaron I ate at a restaurant recently. I heard you could also make tahini out of black sesame seeds instead of white – I’ll have to try that out!

  22. Shl in NYC permalink
    February 23, 2013 12:04 pm

    Back in the mid 1970’s in NYC, my mother and I made our very first attempt in making sweet black sesame dessert soup – grind the soaked seed and soaked rice in a blender, strain, add water and rock sugar and bring to boil. To this day, I still remember the intense aroma and flavor of the home made soup. My favorite dim sum item is the jellied black sesame roll and when ever I see it I will buy one.

  23. Mikan permalink
    February 23, 2013 10:53 am

    Black sesame dessert soup is one of the few Chinese dishes I make. But, I recently had black sesame creme brulee at a Japanese tea house and I need to try to make it at home.

  24. charj permalink
    February 23, 2013 7:50 am

    I’ve had black sesame seeds sprinkled on vegetable sushi rolls

  25. February 23, 2013 7:10 am

    i love diana’s blog!! and i love all things black sesame, including ice cream! favorite variety though would be black sesame paste dim sum desserts :)

  26. February 23, 2013 4:14 am

    Would love to try black sesame seed ice cream as your words sold it to me but need to buy an ice cream maker first! I do like a bit of gomashio (roasted black sesame seeds and salt) sprinkled onto rice – a simple but effective condiment.

  27. February 23, 2013 3:21 am

    Sesame seeds sprinkle on home make buns a delight to see as well as pleases the palate too.

  28. Mathy permalink
    February 23, 2013 12:43 am

    in srilanka we have a sweet with crushed black sesame seeds + jaggery. yummy.

  29. February 23, 2013 12:11 am

    That looks so good and so easy! For Chinese New Year we had black sesame nian gao (deep fried in batter), so good. My mom loves black sesame everything, especially candies.

  30. scrapper al permalink
    February 22, 2013 11:54 pm

    I remember the first time I had black sesame “soup.” It looked rather disgusting, but it was oh so tasty!

  31. February 22, 2013 9:58 pm

    We use it in making sweet balls ans spicy rice with the black sesame rice powder……………..

  32. February 22, 2013 8:52 pm

    Oh my, this looks and sounds heavenly. You had me at syrup. I’m going to try this recipe even if the Virtual Potluck is done. Thanks for sharing the recipe, Pat!

  33. Eric permalink
    February 22, 2013 8:23 pm

    Recently had a black sesame macaron. Absolutely recommend.

  34. February 22, 2013 8:16 pm

    Black sesame mochi are delicious. :)

  35. eve permalink
    February 22, 2013 7:33 pm

    Being first generation Chinese, I grew up having lots of sweet black sesame soup served by many aunts and grandmothers through the years. And due to dietary restrictions, my sister makes the most amazing gluten- and sugar-free cookies with them.

  36. Nina Dona permalink
    February 22, 2013 7:27 pm

    My offering, anything with pork and a SIMPLE presentation, so the pork tastes rocks the dish!
    I know, it’s not a sweet, but…
    the pork buns at Star Noodle in Maui are “simple” and d e l i c i o u s
    go there now!
    Nina,
    Santa Cruz, Ca

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