Perfectly Spooky Black Sesame No-Churn Ice Cream
Not only will the (lack of) color in this perfectly spooky black sesame no-churn ice cream go perfectly well with any Halloween party, the flavor will knock your socks off. And the prep is so easy, you’ll wonder why you ever buy ice cream at the store.
When I was little, my parents took me to a fancy pants French restaurant in Tokyo. It’s so crazy how I don’t remember how old I was or what I was wearing or who was even sitting at my table (I assume it was my parents and siblings, but I honestly don’t remember). But I do remember the food. It was the first time I had steak (rare and sliced paper thin) on a salad and I will never turn back, and the most memorable part of the meal was dessert: one tiny black sesame ice cream quenelle. This dessert was definitely a fusion of the chef’s origin (Japan) and training (France). It was perfectly smooth and creamy and just enough sweetness, with the nutty, almost savory finish of the black sesame. The fragrance and color and flavor all astounded me and it’s never really left my mind since. Although I never dared to try to recreate it. It seemed far too refined for my skills.
But I realized I didn’t have to recreate it, I can just be inspired by it … and then make it way easier for, you know, “normal” people like myself.
About a year ago, I shared a simple way to make ice cream without the ice cream machine. Sometimes, you just don’t want to pull out the hefty machine or you forgot to put the bowl in the freezer OR you don’t own one. If any of that sounds like you, no-churn ice cream is for you.
And this black sesame variation is about to be your new go-to. It’s super rich & nutty flavor is so pronounced and can hold it’s own, but the flavor profile goes well with anything from chocolate to fruit. Plus, it looks cool.
The swirls add to the other-world feel of it, and it gives it a nice, creepy Halloween-y vibe.
Keep in mind that it’s suuuuuuuper rich. This is not a heaping-bowl-of-ice-cream kind of ice cream. It’s a one-scooper for sure.
I like to roast my black sesame seeds for maximum flavor and to decrease phytic acid. You can buy them pre-roasted at you local Asian market or a well-stocked grocery store, but that runs the risk of getting rancid seeds or a musty, stale flavor, so I recommend going with organic, raw sesame seeds and roasting them yourself.
Black is the new black, my friends. Even for ice cream.
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, separated
- 8 oz black sesame seeds, preferably raw and organic*
- 1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk, separated
- sea salt
- 2 cups heavy cream, preferably low-heat pasteurized
- Place your sesame seeds on a large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss frequently, until slightly fragrant and remove from the heat immediately to prevent burning. Because the seeds are already black, it's hard to see when they're done, so be very careful to remove from the heat as soon as you smell a hint of them cooking. Set aside to cool completely.
- Place the cooled seeds in the bowl of a food processor or the jar of a high-speed blender. Let the machine run until the seeds start to release their oils. Then pulse, scraping down the sides often, until a coarse seed butter is made. Set aside 1/4 cup of the black sesame butter in a small bowl, and scrape the rest into a large bowl.
- To the large bowl add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3/4 cup sweetened condensed milk, and pinch of sea salt. Stir to combine. This is the base of your ice cream.
- To the small bowl pour in the remainder of the sweetened condensed milk and a small pinch of salt. Stir to combine. This is the mixture for the ice cream swirl.
- Pour the heavy cream into a large, deep bowl and either with a stand mixer or hand mixer turn the machine to low speed. Once the cream is frothy, turn the machine up to full speed and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 2-3 minutes. Do not over-beat or you'll have a hard ice cream that is difficult to scoop.
- Gently fold the whipped cream into the large bowl with the ice cream base mixture. Pour half of the mixture into a freezer-safe container with a tightly-sealing lid and smooth out the top. Take half of the the swirl mixture and dollop 1 tablespoon portions distributed evenly on the surface. Add the remaining ice cream base and smooth out the top. Dollop the remaining swirl mixture over the surface in 1 tablespoons portions. Take a butter knife and swirl the ice cream. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface, seal the lid and place in the freezer. Let freeze completely, at least 4 hours, before serving.
- *if your sesame seeds are pre-roasted, you can skip the first step.