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Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

September 3, 2012

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

I made ice cream! And just in time for the end of the summer.

(Labor Day still counts as summer, right?)

Anyway, I would eat this stuff all year round.

I used Nami’s Black Sesame Ice Cream recipe from one of my favorite food blogs: Just One Cookbook, but I swapped out the milk and cream for coconut milk and coconut cream! (So this is a lactose-free ice cream, though it still contains eggs.)

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

My original plan was only to substitute coconut milk for milk, since I thought the rich coconut flavor would pair nicely with the sweet, nutty flavor of roasted black sesame seeds. (Spoiler alert: I was right!) This also had the added bonus (in my opinion) of significantly reducing the dairy content, though I was still planning to use real cream.

When it came time to whip the cream to stiff peaks, however, that whole plan went right out the window.

Now that I’ve recovered from what I can only describe as a frustrating kitchen meltdown experience (and now that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the successful– creamy sesame coconut ice cream– fruits of my labor), it’s kind of a funny story after all…

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

What happened was this: I accidentally made butter.

Did you know that if you whip “organic heavy whipping cream” a little too much, the buttermilk will start to separate from the fat solids and you’ll end up with butter? Neither did I!

(Though I had read Joy the Baker’s post on How to Make Butter* a while back, I guess without paying proper attention. So then I referred to it again for tips on the finishing stages, e.g., rinsing the butter in ice water before shaping and storing it.)

Maybe those of you with a little more expertise in the realm of Desserts can help me out here with why this happened.

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Nami’s recipe for Black Sesame Ice Cream called for “heavy cream,” and I used “organic heavy whipping cream,” when possibly I should have specifically looked for something that was either called “heavy cream” or simply “whipping cream.”

So either the cream (milk fat content) was too heavy, or I whipped it too much. (But given that I’ve made whipped cream just fine before– for chocolate mousse!– and that I was using my electric mixer on the LOW setting, I have to suspect it was the former; not the latter.)

Here’s how I salvaged it, though– and all without making another trip to the store! (Because I REALLY did not want to make another trip to the store). I made coconut milk whipped cream!

Coconut Cream from a chilled can of coconut milk

Let me clarify that I am not the genius who invented this. It’s all over Pinterest, not to mention vegan cooking blogs. It requires some advance planning, because you need to refrigerate a can of coconut milk (or two, in this case) overnight. Then the next day, without tipping or shaking the can, you can open it and remove the thick cream that will have risen to the top, separated from the milky coconut water below. Use this as whipping cream, and you’re in lactose-free business!

The resulting coconut milk ice cream was rich and creamy, but with a slightly lighter nearly sorbet-like feel to it. And the roasted black sesame flavor was oh so good!

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

If you’ve never tried any Japanese (or Chinese, or Korean…) black sesame-flavored desserts before, then you’re missing out. Roasted black sesame is so tasty with a touch of sugar. I’ve had everything from black sesame-filled mochi to black sesame-flavored donuts in Japan, and it’s always a treat.

So bookmark this recipe for next year’s ice cream season. Or make it regardless of the temperature outside, as I plan to do. My lactose-free coconut version turned out wonderfully, but definitely check out Nami’s original recipe for full-on dairy deliciousness, too.

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream(garnished with black sesame cookies from a Korean market in LA)

* Accidental Butter-related Footnote:
My butter-making was even easier than Joy the Baker’s for several reasons:

  1. I used an electric hand mixer and a bowl instead of a stand-mixer with whisk attachment (since I don’t own one, and since I wasn’t trying to make butter).
  2. It took me far less time than the 9 minutes that she says it might take– I swear, it all happened so fast!
  3. I didn’t even make the butter myself; my girlfriend did. (Having failed to make whipped cream, and REALLY not wanting to go back to the store, I got so frustrated that I made her take over.)

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Print this recipe. (PDF)


Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream
Adapted from Black Sesame Ice Cream by Nami of the blog Just One Cookbook.

(Makes 1 quart, or 4-6 servings)

~ 5 Tbsp. roasted black sesame seeds
~ 5 Tbsp. honey
~ 1⅔ cup coconut milk (or whole milk, or almond milk)
~ ⅓ cup sugar
~ 3 egg yolks
~ 1 tsp. vanilla
~ coconut cream from 2 cans of coconut milk– or ⅔ of 1 can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream– (chilled in fridge overnight!), or slightly less than 1 cup whipping cream
~ pinch of salt (optional)

Special equipment needed:
~ food thermometer
~ ice cream maker (optional)

How to make it:

(Note: If your black sesame seeds are not already roasted, lightly toast them in a non-stick pan until fragrant.)

1. Finely grind the roasted black sesame seeds using a food processor or a mortar and pestle. Remove 2 Tbsp. of the finely ground sesame seeds and set aside. (You’ll use the remaining 3 Tbsp.-or-so of ground seeds to make black sesame paste.)

Grinding black sesame seeds into a paste                               Black Sesame Seeds

2. Make black sesame paste: Continue to grind the remaining sesame seeds until they start to release their natural oil. Then add about 3 Tbsp. of the honey and mix it together with the ground sesame seeds.

3. In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk to a simmer, then remove from the heat and set aside. Next, use a medium bowl and an electric mixer, or a stand mixer, to whisk the sugar into the egg yolks until smooth. Add in the reserved 2 Tbsp. of ground black sesame seeds, 2 Tbsp. of honey, and 3 Tbsp. of the black sesame paste and mix well. Then continue to whisk as you slowly pour the milk into this mixture.

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

4. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan, and heat over medium-low heat. Stir until it starts to thicken a bit and reaches 176 degrees F (80C). (Nami notes that the eggs are only safe to consume once it’s reached this temperature, but you shouldn’t let it get above 181 degrees F (83C) since the egg yolks will cook.)

5. Once the mixture has cooked, remove from the heat and place the whole saucepan in a large bowl of ice water to start cooling it down. Stir in the vanilla.

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

6. Make whipped cream, or make coconut whipped cream: Open the 2 cans of coconut milk that have been chilled in the fridge overnight, and scoop out the thick creamy part that has separated out on top (or use ⅔ of 1 can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream that’s been chilled overnight). Use a mixer (or stand mixer) to whisk the cream (with an optional pinch of salt) until it’s the texture of sturdy whipped cream.

7. Once the saucepan mixture has cooled, gently fold the whipped cream into it. Then chill the entire mixture in the fridge for several hours (or overnight) until completely cold.

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

8. Process in your ice cream maker for 20-25 minutes, then transfer to an airtight container and freeze for several hours before enjoying. (If you don’t have an ice cream maker, freeze in an airtight container, or in a shallow metal pan covered with plastic wrap, and stir it every few hours to break up the ice crystals, until it has reached a nice ice cream texture.)

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Black Sesame Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Related recipe posts:
> Thai Iced Tea Popsicles
> Rainbow Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
> Mango Coconut Popsicles with a hint of Lime

52 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2012 9:58 am

    This looks so good!

  2. September 3, 2012 10:07 am

    What an interesting flavor! My family has been eating savory sesame pastries for years –this would be a very unique take on sesame. Thanks for sharing! :)

    • September 3, 2012 10:42 am

      It is interesting– I thought so too when I first encountered sesame flavor in sweets, but it works really well in both sweet and savory settings!

  3. September 3, 2012 10:36 am

    If you’re curious, I went over the various fat contents of what constituted cream over here:

    Truth is, though, just about any cream, if whipped too long, can turn to butter. There’s a fine like between whipped cream and whipped butter, it happens in a split second and happens to the most experienced pastry cooks all over from time to time. I’m glad it didn’t ruin your ice cream experience, though!

    • September 3, 2012 10:44 am

      Thank you! That post was a good and informative read!

      And you’ve made me feel better about my first ever whipped cream fail / butter success… Even though it put me in a horrible mood when it happened, I’m now happy that it did, because it inspired me to think quickly and come up with an entirely lactose-free (and even coconuttier) ice cream. :)

  4. September 3, 2012 12:05 pm

    What an interesting and delicious ice cream flavour my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

    • September 3, 2012 5:40 pm

      Thanks for commenting! You should definitely try to incorporate roasted black sesame seeds into one of your amazing dessert creations sometime… it’s such a warm and enticing flavor.

  5. September 3, 2012 2:31 pm

    Reblogged this on Fetish for Ice-Cream.

  6. September 3, 2012 4:02 pm

    Allison – this sounds amazing! I love that you got creative with the substitutions (is this the coconut recipe you referred to a while back?) – totally awesome!
    Also, how good was the homemade butter?! That’s too funny!

    • September 3, 2012 5:48 pm

      Thanks, Shira! This wasn’t the recipe using up that fresh coconut I cracked open, since for this one I used store-bought coconut milk (the kind with milk or almond milk consistency) + canned coconut milk for the cream to make vegan whipped cream.

      (I posted the other two coconut recipes a while back: Mango Coconut Popsicles and South Indian Spicy Coconut Chutney.)

      And the homemade butter is SO good! Now that I’ve recovered from my bitterness at how it came about… I’m so glad I got creative with the substitutions, too, since I would never have forgiven that butter if I’d had to go back to the store– sometimes I just want to stay in and cook what I want to cook, without having to go anywhere for extra errands. :)

  7. September 3, 2012 8:04 pm

    Wow! This looks amazing! I’d love to try it though the process looks a little bit intimidating. Will have to gather the courage and just do it!

    • September 4, 2012 10:37 am

      Yep, I also had to gather my courage and just do it in order to make Nami’s recipe, but it was SO worth it!

      (Also it will be even easier for you if 1. you’re not trying to take photos of the process while making it, and 2. you buy the right kind of whipping cream and skip the step of accidentally making butter! ;)

      • September 4, 2012 10:04 pm

        But it’s so hard to not take photos while cooking when you’re a blogger! It would also be liberating to set the thing down for once. I will learn from your mistakes…and probably make my own! Thanks again!

      • September 5, 2012 7:06 am

        True! I still cook many things without taking photos of them (no time; too dark out; just don’t feel like it…) but I especially love going back and cooking dishes that I’ve already posted about on my blog– it’s the only time I really feel free from needing to photograph everything!

  8. September 4, 2012 1:33 pm

    Oh, my lord. It looks so good!

  9. September 4, 2012 2:49 pm

    That texture looks so perfectly smooth, creamy, and utterly indulgent! The slightly bitter edge of toasted sesame must cut that richness nicely. Coconut really is an excellent enhancement to create a more exotic treat.

    • September 5, 2012 7:12 am

      Exactly! I couldn’t have put it better. It had just the right amount of sweetness, thanks to sticking with the same amount of honey as in Nami’s original recipe. And it was probably even more rich and creamy because of the coconut cream, though somehow the texture was a little lighter than with most dairy ice creams.

  10. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    September 4, 2012 9:24 pm

    I am so happy to see that you made black sesame ice cream!!! The butter story was funny – actually I used “heavy whipping cream” from Trader Joe’s (forgot if it was organic – usually pick depends on exp. date! haha). I sometimes use the word heavy cream because some non-American readers told me what’s heavy “whipping” cream… well I thought it’s same as heavy cream, so I’ve written heavy cream in some of my recipes (not consistent throughout my blog…). I thought the butter story was interesting indeed. You know me – I don’t bake and rarely whip something haha… I’m so glad you liked it and thank you very much for the kind mention!

    • September 5, 2012 7:16 am

      Aha… mystery somewhat-solved! :) I guess my problem wasn’t the wrong ingredient, but just that I whipped too much air into it too quickly and it rapidly turned into butter before I could stop myself! (I do think that must be easier for it to accidentally happen that way with heavy whipping cream than with regular whipping cream, but it’s good to know that I could have used either for this recipe!)

      Luckily the coconut cream worked out just fine instead. :) Thank you so much for the original recipe and the inspiration– it turned out so nicely, I’m so happy I got up the energy to try making it!

  11. September 4, 2012 10:31 pm

    Allison! I always wanted to make a Black Sesame Ice cream, now I’m not waiting anymore to try this. Thanks for sharing!! Wonderful recipe!!!

    • September 5, 2012 7:17 am

      You’re welcome! I definitely hope you give it a try sometime soon. It’s such an interesting flavor, and one of my favorites!

  12. September 5, 2012 3:29 am

    Just bought myself an ice cream maker and it’s already end if summer, but hey, who says ice cream is only for summer? Right? I like your flavor combo, would have never thought of it, and I love coconut milk/ cream. Inspired!

    • September 5, 2012 7:18 am


      Yep, that’s how I feel about my ice cream maker too– it was a birthday present for my August birthday, but that doesn’t mean I’m storing it away till next summer at all… I’m going to keep making frozen treats regardless of the season! Next I want to try experimenting with sorbets…

  13. September 5, 2012 10:52 am

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and leaving that sweet comment! Your blog is lovely and this recipe looks incredible! I have a pretty big bag of black sesame seeds that’s been sitting in my pantry for a while — I think it’s time to use them! :)

    • September 5, 2012 1:38 pm

      Thank you! And thanks for coming over to my blog :) Your blog is lovely, too! (I’m not as prompt/successful at following non-wordpress blogs, but I stuck your website in my RSS-reader and I will do my best to keep up with it.)

      This ice cream is a wonderful showcase for the roasted black sesame flavor, but there are many simpler ways to use black sesame seeds as well… like a savory Japanese side dish (that I keep meaning to blog about) called goma-ae. Black sesame seeds are also good in furikake (Japanese flavorings that you sprinkle over day-old rice), or in cookies or salad dressings!

  14. September 5, 2012 5:49 pm

    Sesame ice cream sounds interesting! And I think the coconut milk gave the ice cream a richer taste!

    • September 5, 2012 7:46 pm

      Yes, definitely! While the dairy version would have been pretty rich and creamy, too, I think the coconut added more flavor, and it was a mouthwatering pairing with the roasted sesame.

  15. September 5, 2012 10:21 pm

    Oh man…this might be the straw that broke the camel’s back in my ongoing resistance to buy an ice cream maker…

    I blame you for this!


    • September 5, 2012 10:28 pm

      Ah haha, I’m sorry! (…not really, though! ;) I am lucky that I have three awesome sisters who teamed up to get me the ice cream maker for my birthday in August. I might have bought one for myself eventually, but I kind of doubt it because, more than anything, I would have felt bad about adding an appliance to my already-overcrowded kitchen.

      Anyway, just do it and you can thank me later! :)

  16. The High Heel Gourmet permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:02 am

    Yessssssss, thank you!

  17. The High Heel Gourmet permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:07 am

    Yessssssss, thank you! I love sesame ice cream and never thought of substitute the dairy with coconut before. (I did it with other flavor and it was amazing) BTW the heavy cream ALWAYS turn in to butter if you whipped it too long no matter organic or not. This is how I made my home made butter. Organic whip cream but NOT the fast whip you want to churn slowly for a better flavor of your butter.

    • September 6, 2012 10:16 am

      You’re welcome! I hope you get a chance to try out sesame ice cream with the coconut substitute.

      And thanks for the tips about organic heavy cream turning into butter. I guess I just whipped it too long, but the odd thing was, I think I did it with my mixer on LOW and for less than a minute! (So next time I would either buy whipping cream with a lower milkfat content, or just stick with my coconut whipped cream idea, which turned out wonderfully!)

  18. September 6, 2012 10:13 pm

    Oh, you made me laugh with your accidental butter story. Are you *sure* you’re from the dairy state?! LOL

    • September 7, 2012 8:25 am

      Haha, that comment made ME laugh! (And yes I’m sure– my friends in California are always commenting on my “Wisconsin vowels”… Oh, and I love cheese and beer.)

  19. October 4, 2012 7:15 pm

    I can’t believe I haven’t made this yet. YUM!

  20. kahht permalink
    November 2, 2012 3:47 pm

    Mmm!!!! I had to try this. I just got an ice cream maker and had a bunch of black sesame seeds hanging out in my fridge waiting for their calling… this was it indeed! What an interesting flavour.

    • November 2, 2012 4:11 pm

      Yes! I can guarantee you that this ice cream is their calling. ;) It is such a nice showcase for the nutty sweet black sesame flavor. I hope you love it! :)

  21. petit4chocolatier permalink
    November 13, 2012 5:02 pm

    Looks so good!

    • November 14, 2012 9:15 am

      Thank you! :) It was pretty awesome… I will have to make another batch sometime soon.

  22. July 10, 2014 9:06 am

    LMAO! I’ve seen this on pinterest. I love that you accidentally made butter. You really are a talent. This looks so good. I was relieved to read this is not a “no churn” recipe, in that I don’t have the necessary ice cream maker. I fear that if i make this i will love it so much that I will gain tons of weight and the parade of horribles will begin all stemming from my love of this recipe and your photos right here right now. I will just look on and drool. But seriously, I would love to give this a try one day. It really looks amazing.


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