Recreating…

blksesamelead
I’ve been a little homesick lately. Now don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my new city. I first publicly declared it here. But that doesn’t mean I don’t miss my old home. Oakland was my residence for over 4 years. Perhaps not a long time for some, but for me, (the type of person who can’t sit still in one place for too long) Oakland was the closest thing I had to a permanent home in my adult years.

When I decided to move out of the Bay Area, I left behind a group of friends I like to call my second family. The faces I met at the various jobs I worked, the classmates I met in culinary school, and the friends I was lucky to reconnect with from high school. Those people are my family. I hold them so dearly to heart, I miss them every day.

Another big part of Oakland that I miss is the food. The Bay Area has a plethora of amazing restaurants. I was lucky enough to work in a few of them, as well as befriend some folks who did as well. One of the best restaurants in Oakland (in my humble opinion) is Ramen Shop. The restaurant hosts some of the best ramen I’ve had in the States. But one of the menu items I still can’t get out of my head is their dessert. Particularly, their Black Sesame Ice Cream Sandwich (with brown sugar cookies).

It’s a delicious pairing–like a vanilla-hued, silk-blend Stella McCartney pantsuit with nude strappy leather Céline heels. It’s a delicate match of toasted and creamy.

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I’ve made a few attempts at recreating this recipe, and the one I’m sharing with you tastes as close to the original that I could construct. If you ever find yourself in the East Bay, you’ve got to try out Ramen Shop. And for those of you (us) that aren’t, test out my recipe below to hold you over until then.

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sammich
Black Sesame Ice Cream Sandwiches
Yields 6 sandwiches

INGREDIENTS
Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream
Brown Butter Sugar Cookies

METHOD
Turn 12 cookies face up onto the countertop. Using an ice cream scoop, take 1/2 cup of ice cream and place each scoop onto 6 of the cookies. Using an offset spatula, spread evenly to the edges. Top the ice cream with a second cookie and press down to adhere. Freeze until solid, about an hour.

6 Shades of Grey

blksesiclead

This recipe is so amazing on its own. But with the addition of the Brown Butter Sugar Cookies it packs a punch full of delicate, creamy, and nutty flavor.
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Black Sesame Seed Ice Cream
Recipe slightly adapted from My Second Breakfast

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PASTE
1/2 cup black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons honey

FOR THE ICE CREAM BASE
black sesame paste
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

METHOD
In a small, dry, non-stick pan or cast-iron skillet, toast sesame seeds over medium heat until they start to pop and you start to smell a subtle nutty aroma.

Set aside to cool.

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Once cool, grind in a spice grinder until a paste begins to form. Add honey. Grind until the sesame seeds are in a paste-like consistency and hold together when the mixture is squeezed between your fingers.

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FOR THE ICE CREAM
In a small pot, heat up milk, sugar, sesame paste, and salt, stirring until sugar dissolves. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks until they start to turn light in color. Slowly add the warmed milk mixture to the eggs, whisking all the time (need to add a bit at a time so that the eggs don’t curdle).

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Once the milk is fully incorporated into the eggs, return the mixture to the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring, until thickened. The mixture should coat the back of a spoon and hold a line. Pour mixture into cold cream and add vanilla. Mix until combined.

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Place into the refrigerator to cool down for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight. If you want to speed up the process, you can place the bowl with the ice cream mixture into an ice bath and stir, but will still need to store in fridge till fully cooled down.

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker (mine is still in California…insert sad face emoji here) you can line a loaf pan or other freezer-safe container with plastic wrap and place the ice cream base in it. You will need to mix it with a spoon after the first 2 hours, then return it back to the freezer. Mix it second time after 2 more hours, spreading the top surface evenly with a rubber spatula. Then, place another piece of plastic wrap onto the top, lightly touching the surface. This way, the ice cream won’t have ice crystals at the top once fully frozen.

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Flavor of the Week

Now in season: strawberries!

Now in season: strawberries!

When I worked as a Pastry Chef Assistant, I had the pleasure of making ice cream and sorbet bases daily. And when I say pleasure, I mean it. Ice cream and sorbets are a fairly easy sweet treat to make at home. And quite honestly, with all the ingredients listed on many store-bought ice creams–preservatives, additives, and chemicals one can’t even pronounce–it’s actually healthier (and perhaps safer) to consume those of the homemade variety. Wouldn’t you agree?

Now in season, strawberries are ideal for this warm weather, so sorbet is in order!

Ooh, and for a cool (alcoholic) refresher, you can add a scoop of the sorbet to a flute of sparkling wine (Prosecco works well) for a Bellini-style cocktail.

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Warning: Consumption of strawberries before making sorbet is often unavoidable!

Strawberry Sorbet
Yields about 1 quart

INGREDIENTS
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup water
3 1/2 cups (16 ounces or 1 pound) strawberries, stems removed and quartered
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice (I used grapefruit juice and it tasted great!)

METHOD
Place the water and sugar into a small saucepan stirring to just combine. Heat over medium-high and boil until the sugar is completely dissolved. You’re basically making a simple syrup, so heat the sugar water till it’s a slightly syrupy consistency. Turn off the heat and transfer the simple syrup into a small bowl and into the refrigerator to cool.

While the simple syrup cools down, wash the strawberries and cut off the stems. Cut the strawberries into quarters. Place strawberries into a food processor or blender and blend till the fruit is completely broken down, adding a fresh squeeze of lemon juice.

Seriously so good

Seriously so good

Transfer the strawberry gazpacho to your ice cream maker, adding in the simple syrup. Churn the strawberry soup according to your ice cream maker’s manufacturer’s instructions. (My Hello Kitty Ice Cream Maker processes the mixture for 40 minutes.)

Sorbet before

Sorbet before

Sorbet after

Sorbet after

Once the mixture has been churned completely, place a sheet of plastic wrap just pressing the top of the sorbet to avoid getting ice crystals while freezing. Place into your freezer for at least 4 hours or until firm.

If I could escape...

If I could escape…