Melbourne has been humid, humid, humid lately. This has been a weird summer – LOTS of rain and very little of the dry heat that stretches for days, that is more usual of our summers. Thank you La Nina, you can stop now.
Well, at least ice cream is good for any type of heat – dry or humid. So it’s fortunate that the theme for this month’s incident party is “sundae”, to which I’m bringing sesame ice cream, topped with red bean sauce.
I grew up eating black sesame and white sesame in desserts – namely black sesame soup or sesame seed balls. I really wanted to showcase both types, so I made ice cream from both! With the white sesame, I toasted the seeds in a dry frying pan, and then ground them to a paste using a mortar and pestle. If you’re ever grinding sesame seeds in a mortar and pestle, I recommend doing it a small amount at a time. Once I was making sauce for shabu shabu and poured a large amount of sesame into the mortar and pestle – it took me half an hour before I had sesame paste! Extremely painful experience, and it would’ve been much quicker if I had done a small amount at a time.
With the black sesame, I used black sesame powder that I purchased at an Asian grocery store. For both ice creams, I used an ice cream recipe that I’ve made before, that has an Italian egg mousse base that’s folded into whipped cream.
The ice creams turned out well – before freezing, I preferred the white sesame version. It was sweeter and nuttier. However, after freezing I found that I liked the black sesame one more! It was more assertively nutty and fragrant, and the white sesame one turned out creamier and less flavoursome. The black sesame was a touch grainy (since I did add rather a lot of sesame powder!) but after freezing it wasn’t a big issue. But I do think I can improve on it – next time!
And finally, when I was thinking about this sundae, I wondered how I could make it even MORE ASIAN. Red bean sauce immediately came to mind! So when I was ready to put it together, I spooned over red bean sauce that I had made from purchased red bean paste thinned out with boiling water (with a touch of red food colouring to keep the red colour). It was the perfect topping for my sundae!
Black/white sesame ice cream
Adapted from: Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course
1/4 cup white sesame seeds
3/4 cup black sesame powder (to taste)
4 egg yolks
600ml thickened cream, softly whipped
Toast the white sesame seeds in a dry frying pan until fragrant. Grind to a paste in a mortar and pestle – do this a small amount at a time otherwise it will take forever! Set aside.
Place the egg yolks in a bowl/mixer and whisk over high speed until they are pale and fluffy.
In a saucepan, combine the water and sugar and stir over a medium heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the spoon and increase the heat until it boils. Let the syrup boil until it reaches the “thread” stage – 106-113°C – it will be quite thick, and when a metal spoon is dipped into it, the drops of syrup will form firm threads.
While whisking the egg yolks, pour the hot syrup on to them.
Spoon out half of the egg yolk mixture and set aside.
To one half of the egg yolk mixture add the white sesame paste and fold together. To the other half, add the black sesame powder. Fold in half of the softly whipped cream to each mixture and pour into separate stainless steel or plastic bowls, cover and freeze.
When serving, remove from the freezer at least 10 minutes before serving.
Serve with red bean sauce, made with red bean paste and thinned with a bit of boiling water.