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My homemade toasted black sesame ice cream (kurogoma) has a wonderful nuttiness and intense sesame flavor against a creamy custard enriched with coconut cream.
Continuing with my ice cream theme for National Ice Cream Month, the second recipe of the series is this delicious toasted black sesame ice cream (kurogoma). Many moons ago before Covid-19 time, we used to have a quarterly dinner party with a different menu each time. My friend Gail and I cooked a fun Japanese dinner with black sesame ice cream as the grand finale. My toasted black sesame ice cream has a wonderful nuttiness and intense sesame flavor against a rich custard.
Black sesame: for this recipe black sesame is the hero. Don’t bother substituting with white sesame. White sesame seeds are usually sold with their tan, brownish hulls removed whereas black sesame have their hulls still intact resulting in a subtle difference in taste. Black sesame seeds are nuttier with a slight bitter flavor compared to the sweeter white sesame.
Coconut cream: instead of using a mixture of heavy cream and 2% milk of my ice cream base recipe, I switched out the milk with coconut cream. Coconut milk has the liquid consistency similar to cow’s milk while coconut cream is much thicker and richer. My favorite brands are Savoy and Aroy-D. They both come in the can. The coconut cream adds a wonderful subtle richness to the overall taste of ice cream.
How to make black sesame paste
My toasted black sesame ice cream requires black sesame paste. It’s a simple mixture of black sesame, sesame oil, and powdered sugar. The sesame seeds are toasted in a skillet to heighten their nutty flavor and fragrance. Once cooled, I used a spice grinder to get the seeds as fine as possible. To make the paste, I used a pestle and mortar and pounded the ground sesame, sesame oil, and powdered sugar until homogeneous. It gets folded into the ice cream base and gives the custard a beautiful charcoal color.
If you don’t have time to make your own sesame paste, you can find black sesame paste (neri goma) at Japanese and Asian grocery stores. Also, don’t substitute black sesame paste for tahini paste. There’s a distinct difference in flavor. Black tahini is made from hulled, raw black sesame seeds giving it a bitter astringency and only a mild nuttiness whereas Japanese-style black sesame paste is made from toasted black sesame seeds, with their hulls intact.
Tips for making ice cream base
When making the custard, keep the heat low and gentle otherwise you’ll end up with scrambled egg. Pay attention to the consistency as the base cooks and goes from liquid to a thin soup like texture. You can test for readiness by dipping a spatula into the base, running your finger across the spatula to see if the path created by your finger holds for a few seconds. If the base doesn’t start running down the spatula, the custard is ready. I always strain my base to remove any solids.
This addicting toasted black sesame ice cream is a dream for those who love black sesame desserts like mochi, chiffon cake, bread, hakzimaawu (traditional Cantonese dessert soup), and tang yuan (black sesame dumplings). The flavor of black sesame is unlike anything that your taste buds have experienced when it comes to ice cream flavors.
For more ice cream inspiration, check these recipes: Vietnamese coffee ice cream, Earl grey chocolate ice cream, salted caramel ice cream, rhubarb crumble ice cream, roasted balsamic strawberry ice cream.