I probably should not have called this recipe “ice cream” since it contains no cream, but what was my alternative? I could have called it coconut ice milk or sesame frozen treat, but those sound so cold and plastic. Besides this recipe is ripe with umami, so I say if the shoe fits eat it. Well, something like that.
I have been contemplating this recipe ever since I encountered a pint of coconut milk ice cream at Metropolitan Market in Lower Queen Anne, Seattle. I was hunting for a pint of Soy Delicious Peanut Butter Zig-Zag (which lately has not had much zig in its zag), when I saw Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss*. They had many lovely flavors to choose from, I went with the gorgeous Vanilla Island and was not sorry. It had never occurred to me that I could make a simple ice cream using coconut milk as a base, but there I was licking my spoon dreaming of the possibilities.
I decided to go the unconventional route when it came to choosing my flavors (big surprise, eh?), deciding to infuse it with a Middle Eastern aura. Initially I had only planned to use sesame seeds in the mixture, but found they became lost in a sea of coconutty intensity, so I turned to tahini. The tahini not only added a gloriously nutty aroma and flavor, but also added some much needed body to the mixture.
I used honey instead of sugar in the mixture, because there is no more natural partner with sesame in my eyes than honey. A simple clover honey did well in this recipe, but I think next time I would use a darker late season honey to add a bit more depth to the sweetness. As for the coconut milk, I went with a light coconut milk, based solely on the sheer intensity of coconut milk in general. I must say that I made the correct decision, anything more would have been too intense.
I was making sesame oat tuiles** to serve on the side and in the process made a wonderful discovery. My second combination looked perfect, but they were just too delicate to hold their shape for long. However the flavor was exactly what I wanted, nutty, buttery and only mildly sweet. I did not want to change them, so I decided to use them as a crumbled topping instead. If you’d rather the tuiles, just add a tablespoon of sugar to the mix and you’ll be good to go.
This recipe is probably not going to be one for your children, unless they are adventurous eaters. But, it is an exotic alternative to your normal ice cream.
Coconut and Sesame Ice Cream
1/4 cup Tahini
1/4 cup Honey + a little more to ribbon through later
1/4 tsp Sea Salt, or to taste
14 ounces Light Unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 TBS Toasted Sesame Seeds
Mix the tahini, honey and sea salt with the coconut milk together in a blender adding a little milk at a time, until it is well thinned out and blended. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour.
Following your manufacturers instructions add the mixture to the bowl of your ice cream maker and process until set, adding in the sesame seeds part of the way through. Working quickly, remove the ice cream to a container layering it with light ribbons of honey throughout. Store in the freezer until you are ready to serve. Top with Sesame Oat Crumbles.
Notes: Make sure you are using fresh tahini. A can or jar that has been open for too long can easily go rancid and ruin the ice cream.
You don’t have to use a blender if you don’t want to. Use a whisk and whip the dickens out of it.
Sesame Oat Crumbles (or tuiles)
1/2 Rolled Oats
1 TBS Sesame Seeds
1/4 cup Butter, at room temp
2 TBS Light Brown Sugar
1 TBS Sugar (or 2 if you are making tuiles)
2 TBS AP Flour
1/8 to 1/4 tsp Cardamom
Heat your oven to 375F.
In a medium sized bowl combine your ingredients and incorporate using your fingers, making sure the butter is well distributed.
Using a teaspoon, shape your dough into little rounds and place on your parchment or silpat lined baking sheet. Bake 5-7 minutes, depending on your oven’s temperament. They should be a lovely golden brown.
Allow the tuiles to cool slightly on the pan before removing so as to avoid breakage. Allow to cool completely and store in an airtight container.
Tuiles variation: Allow the tuiles to cool slightly before removing them from the pan and gently placing over a rolling pin or other rounded object to achieve that adorable curl.
*If you happen to find Luna and Larry’s Coconut Bliss do yourself a delicious flavor, I mean favor, and pick up a pint. Does anyone else love that her name is Luna? Yes, I am a Harry Potter nerd.
**Is it just me or is the definition of ‘tuiles’ becoming a little diluted? Ah well, it can join the ever swelling ranks of watered down words while still maintaining a certain level of deliciousness. Maybe I should call mine crisps instead?