Black Sesame Seed Gelato

Black Sesame Seed Gelato

Black Sesame, Douglas fir Granita and toasted chocolate
One of the recipes I loved from Cafe Juanita was the Gelato recipe. One, it was easy to memorize and two every time I have used it and in every kitchen I have been asked for the recipe.

Oh, and I forgot the best part. So this recipe is called "Black Sesame" but really I will give you the base and from there you can make any flavor you want!

I have made Smoked Caramel,  Douglas fir, Cardamom, Pistachio, Olive oil and 31 other flavors (actually more!).

So you can make a huge batch of this and take it from there!

The key to the recipe is understand how Gelato and Ice Cream works. Frozen custards relay on various variables to reduce the amount of ice crystal that from in the custard. Higher fat, higher hydrocolliods, faster sheering of a blade, etc. Each of these decrease the ability for ice crystals to form. So when considering making a flavor fat, protein, sugar and churning levels all have to be taken into account. These all play a role.

Not only that, sugar, fat, and protein play a huge role in not only texture, but stability at room temperature. For instance, have you ever had chewy ice cream and I am not referring to Turkish Ice cream. I am referring to overly stabilized ice creams. Whether this is with carrageenan or guar gum. All stabilizers are double edged swords. If you have 500 hundred quenelles that you have to do. Stabilizers are a life saver. Yet, your texture suffers.

**Warning***If you want to to go straight to the recipe, skip the next three sections!


Let me tell you a horror story about high fat gelato. One such night, the first night I went from being an Intern to a paid employee at Cafe Juanita we had to serve a 30 top down stairs. I was in charge of the dessert. A nectarine tart with Olive oil gelato. One key with high fat ice creams and gelatos is proper tempering. If you haven't tempered an ice cream with high fat, and have to scoop 30 quenelles. You are screwed. I still remember that night. Holly came down, and she didn't yell, she didn't scream. Her words still cut like a hot dagger through my young self-esteem. I told you I just started getting paid, after 3 months of interning. Her first question was "Why am I even paying you". Instant shut down, me a 17-year old kid who had plenty of imposter syndrome to deal with, was broken. I couldn't even respond.#cheflife..but that doesn't have too much to do with Gelato. It is more just to make the point that high fat means a harder freeze. Also, sometimes it makes it more like frozen butter. This is not a pleasant texture and you should think about the final fat content.

If I am making a pure nut gelato, I often just use a nut butter and simple syrup. There is no need for cream, whole milk or egg. You actually want to reduce fat.


Now where high fat makes ice creams more stable. Increasing sugar does quite the opposite. The sugar molecule decreases the temperature required for a hard freeze. I learned to hate the Burnt sugar gelato at Cafe Juanita. If it was even close to 80 degrees outside, the little freezer we had upstairs couldn't handle being open and closed all service. I would be able to server maybe 3 servings before I just had to say we were out.

If you happen to make this recipe and have any questions about flavor adjustments, feel free to send me an email!


If you don't like nerd talk, you should skip to the recipe now! If you like knowing random facts about things to "impress" people at parties. Then keep reading.

The word has two parts. The hydro referring to water and the colliod referring one product that is microscopically dispersed insoluble products in another substance. What this translates to, is small particles floating around in water. In particular, these products often create a matrix that suspends fluid. This would be xanthan gum, guar gum, carrageenan, egg yolks, and many others. If you have ever looked at the ingredients in store bought ice cream, some of these may be familiar. These help maintain the structure of the ice cream. Some of them can even withstand a decent amount of sitting at room temperature. Too much does make your ice cream rather chewy...

But enough of that, let's get to the recipe!


1 Gallon of Whole Milk

900 g egg yolk

1000 g sugar

500 g black Sesame(toasted)

1 tbsp of salt

Equipment needed

 Vitamix or other blender!

 Ice Cream Machine

2 Gallon Pot- or double the size of your final proportion

2 Gallon Bowl 


Alright, this recipe is pretty simple. Have you ever made custard or creme anglaise?

Well, that is all you are going to do here.

Start by taking the whole milk and heating it on the on a medium high heat. Make sure you watch it so it doesn't over boil (trust me, I have had to clean plenty of stove tops because of my one track mind).

In a bowl that can hold two gallons! mix the egg yolks, sugar and salt, and beat until thick.

Once your milk has come up to a boil, take it off the heat.

Make sure you have a ladle and a whisk ready and clean(more important for cooks...).

Then slowly ladle in the hot milk and whisk. This is called tempering, it protects the egg yolks from scrambling. You want to make sure you bring the egg yolks up slowly and whisk constantly. Otherwise you will end up with egg chunks!

Once mixed, you will more than likely have to put this mixture on the stove top again at low heat(10% of the time it might cook to the right temperature and you won't have to do this step).

Bring the mixture up to 160-165 degrees. This should be at what is called the "Nape" stage. This refers to being able to stick a spoon in  the custard base, pull it out a scrape a line down the center. As in the picture below.

****Warning***** be mindful of the bottom of your pan. You have to keep mixing constantly, maybe even with a heat proof spatula. Otherwise, you will get scrambled eggs at the bottom. A little is ok, and can and should be strained out!

Set up a bowl that will fit your final custard over a bowl with ice water. This will just help cool down your product faster, and if by chance you were getting too hot, save you from having scrambled eggs.

Once your custard has reached the proper stage of Nape. Strain your product through a fine sieve or other strainer into your two bowl combination.

That was your base. From there, you can take your base and make any flavor you want! Again, let me know if you have any questions!

Black Sesame 

Starting with the base, take half your toasted black sesame and enough liquid to fill 1/2 of your blender. Don't over fill your blender...that is my job...I have seen blenders explode more than once...

Place the sesame seeds and base you have from the previous step into your Vita-mix.

Blend for a few minutes, its ok if it is not super smooth. We will be straining later on.

Repeat this step until all your sesame seed is pureed and mix both of the batches with the rest of your custard.

Allow this to sit over night.

The next day, strain the product through a fine sieve.

Season to taste with more salt if necessary. Honestly, salt in this makes it!

From here, it depends on what kind of ice cream maker you have.

When I did this dish, we actually used dry ice to make the ice cream. If you are curious on the steps, feel free to ask! No ice cream maker required!

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Tag: Gelato Maker, Pop Up Restaurant, Chef Life, Chef Stories, Chef Recipes, Chef Tools

1 comment:

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