May 13, 2013

Black Sesame Ice Cream

Black Sesame Ice Cream 黑芝麻冰淇淋

black sesame ice cream recipe
By Published: 2013-05-13
The summer's coming and it's time for lots of ice cream!  We tried a recipe for black sesame ice cream that is just out of this world delicious!  It seems even to have supplanted our blueberry ice cream as the family's favorite ice cream flavor.  I think the reason it is so good is that you make the black sesame paste yourself.  We tried this before, roasting and then grinding black sesame for Tong Yuan, or sweet rice dumpling balls, that came out fantastic.  The black sesame is so fragrant this way!  Nothing that you buy or that you get when eating out can compare to it.  I was suppose to write a post on the Tong Yuan but they got eaten up so fast that I didn't get a photo.  Well, never mind, here is something just as good - the fabulous Black Sesame Ice cream!

Here is the just roasted black sesame seeds.  It looks almost the same as the not yet roasted seeds, just a tad bit darker.  I used my trusty cast iron pan to roast the seeds, just setting the heat at medium and carefully watching the pan, shaking and stirring once in a while.  When the unbearably distinct fragrance of sesame is wafting up from the pan and a few seeds have "popped", and nothing is anywhere near burned, you are done.  Be careful about not burning the seeds, you will probably just have to throw that batch out if you burn it.  Just lower the heat and go slower if you think it's a problem.

Here's the black sesame paste that we made fresh as well.  YUMMY!  I almost had to make it again as my daughter was helping me and nearly ate the whole bowl when she was "taste testing" it for me!  If you try this recipe you must roast the sesame yourself, it really makes all the difference!

I have always thought that black sesame seeds are so interesting a food in that it is such a strong color of pure black and yet is so tasty that you never hear people comment negatively on it as a food.  I can think of a lot of foods that are strange colors that get a lot of flack for their coloring.  (You know, the "eww're not going to eat it!?"  kind of reaction.)  But luckily black sesame never suffers the same fate, indeed it is a queen among foods - regal, sublime and purely delicious!

Note: You don't need an ice cream maker to make this black sesame ice cream!  We make ice cream all the time and don't have an ice cream machine (don't have the space!).  Just follow the easy instructions at the end of the recipe.

Black Sesame Ice Cream Recipe
(adapted from recipe at Just One CookbookPrep time:    Cook time: 


1 2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
6 tbsp sesame paste* (see recipe below)
1 cup cream 
1 tsp of vanilla 
1 tbsp roasted black sesame seeds

Heat milk in pot until simmering.  Remove from heat.  In bowl, whisk egg yolk and sugar, then add maple syrup, black sesame paste and mix.  Slowly add the milk, stirring the whole time.  Pour all back into the pot and heat over medium low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the pot bottom, until the mixture is thick enough to cling to the back of your spoon.  Take off heat.  Let cool. 

Whisk cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add whisked cream and roasted sesame seeds to the cooled custard and fold to mix.  

Cool mixture in refrigerator and then use your ice cream machine to make ice cream or if you don't have ice cream maker then cover your ice cream mixture with cling wrap and put in freezer.  After 20 minutes, take out and stir vigorously.  Put back in freezer.  Repeat every half hour for three hours, making sure to break up any ice crystals that form.  After three hours the ice cream will be in a soft serve state.  You can enjoy it then, or if you like it harder, just pack into your ice cream container and freeze for a couple hours more before eating.  For serving take out of freezer 5 mins before scooping.  Sprinkle on some roasted whole black sesame seeds for visual effect and crunch.

Black Sesame Paste*
Prep time:    Cook time: 

3 1/2 tbsp black sesame seeds
3 tbsp honey or maple syrup

Roast sesame seeds in cast iron or non stick pan over medium heat.  Stir until the seeds pop and smell fragrant.  Let cool, set aside 1 tbsp and grind the rest in coffee or spice grinder until fine and mixture is moist.  Remove ground sesame to a bowl and add the honey and stir.

For other yummiest no ice cream machine required flavors check out our cherry, strawberry, blueberry and durian ice cream recipes.  Yeah for summer and summer fruits!!

More Chinese desserts at The Hong Kong Cookery:

chinese new year, nian gao, rice cakes, sweet, chinese new year cake, feastChinese New Year Cake Nian Gao 年糕

chinese red bean dessert soupRed Bean Desert Soup 紅豆沙

almond bean curdAlmond Bean Curd - An Easy and Elegant Chinese Dessert


  1. There are lots of things I would like to try, in terms of food. I have never had black sesame ice cream but I have had lots of other Japanese flavors that I enjoyed. I just don't ever remember seeing black sesame anywhere that I've been to. Maybe it's the areas that I lived in.

    I would like to buy street food in Marrakesh as well. They say that dining there is an experience. I hope that the street food would live up to the expectations set by those who dine in more formal circumstances in the country.

  2. Will it be alright to use black sesame powder? Are there any changes to the recipe if I use black sesame?

    1. Haven't tried with pre-ground sesame powder so not sure but I think that use 3 1/2 tbsp sesame powder, then taste test along the way for enough sesame intensity and also for enough sweetness. Good cooking! ~ellen

  3. I don't like adding egg yolks in making black sesame ice cream. My Japanese friend has a unique recipe where she put Mascarpone Cheese in making this. xD

    1. Hi Ai, I love mascarpone in cake frosting and it must also be yummy in ice cream! Must try it next time! ~ellen

  4. we just made this and it turned out wonderful!!!!! ty for the recipe

    1. Hi Aventurera - Splendiforous! So glad that you liked our black sesame ice cream. It's one of my personal favorites. ~ellen

  5. Hi Ellen, can I ask what cream you use? I am from the UK, and we usually use double cream to make ice-cream. Thabs for recipe, I can't wait to test it out!

    1. Hi Kimi - we use 'heavy cream' which I believe is similar in butterfat% to double cream, double cream even more butterfat% making it more creamy and rich (yum!). We don't seem to have double cream here but I would definitely use it if I could buy it! Good luck on your ice cream! ~ellen


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