When my college-aged daughter was home this past summer, we explored a lot of Japanese places in the Bay Area. One hot day, we dropped by Uji Time Dessert in Berkeley, CA. I love their motto: “Our goal is simple – Think of us when you crave Japanese fusion style desserts.”
They offer a wide variety of sweets and Matcha drinks on their menu, and of course, as usual, I ordered Matcha soft serve ice cream. My daughter was way more adventurous and ordered Black Sesame soft serve ice cream.
I was allowed one taste and it was AMAZING! This burst of earthy flavor exploded in my mouth. I never realized the complexity and depth of flavor that black sesames have. Needless to say, it changed my blog focus for the summer and led me down the windy road of developing today’s recipe. It took me four tries testing and tweaking it before I felt it was a winner and worthy of posting, and getting my daughter’s approval! Not easy, believe me!
Black sesame seems to be everywhere these days and for a very good reason. I was at a Shake Shack in Brooklyn and they were even selling a black sesame milkshake with frozen custard, which was quite delicious.
You may ask how did I go from soft serve to a recipe for Black Sesame Pudding?!
Well, my daughter also introduced me to a very quirky YouTube show called Cooking with Dog, about a Japanese dog named Francis who narrates this cooking show (in English no less) as a Japanese female cook prepares the recipes. I know, sounds ridiculous, right? But it’s very cute and an informative cooking show, and we love dogs! We watched them make Black Sesame Pudding, and that is what sparked this recipe for me. The smooth texture is very similar to Panna Cotta, another favorite dessert of mine. This is an easy and luscious recipe, and the hardest part is waiting for it to cool and set in the refrigerator before eating!
Surprisingly, finding Japanese black sesame paste wasn’t easy. In the end, I found it on Amazon, as all the local stores were either always sold out or very pricey. My friend, Naomi, in Tokyo, told me it is pricey there too. But, I can assure you it is worth it!
Black Sesame Pudding
- 4 tbsp black sesame paste
- 300 ml whole milk
- 1 packet plain gelatin
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 100 ml heavy cream
- sweetened whipped cream (I added in a little confectioner's sugar)
- toasted black sesame seeds
Place gelatin in a small bowl and add in a tablespoon or two of cold water. Stir to mix. Set aside for a few minutes.
Heat the milk in a small saucepan and add in the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, then add in the gelatin. Whisk until it dissolves. Take off the heat.
Pour the mixture into a deep bowl and add in the black sesame paste. Whisk to combine. Place this bowl carefully into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Continue whisking to help it cool down quickly. Then whisk in the heavy cream. Once cooled, pour into small glass bowls or other decorative glassware. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or more until the pudding has firmed up completely.
Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and toasted black sesame seeds.
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