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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sesame Nut Brittle Ice Cream "Sundae"

Sweetly cold, creamy and scrumptiously summer…oh, ice cream. Sometimes it’s all you need, and then a little bit more. Although I’ve never segregated my ice cream consumption to certain months of the year, I do eat it more often when the sun is bright and the air is warm.

To me, there is something wonderful about ice cream...especially when it is just starting to melt. The flavors are brighter, taste is sweeter and texture is all the more satisfying. When I was a little girl, I remember filling my bowl with a few heaping scoops of Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream and then vigorously stirring it until the consistency had reached a slightly soupy thickness that melted into sweet cream as soon as it hit my tongue. I still think this is the ideal texture/temperature to eat ice cream.

This week in class, we had a seasonally-glorious ice cream challenge: to create an original dessert using the ice cream we had made the week prior (we were each assigned a different flavor, mine was “Sesame”). Sesame Ice Cream is admittedly exotic, I’d never heard of it until I was handed the recipe. It’s an intensely rich and smooth ice cream base that is made with tahini (sesame paste). The texture is somewhere between ice cream, peanut butter and warm fudge.

I found the finished Sesame Ice Cream in need of some textural variation. So, I made a Cashew-Pistachio Brittle that I chopped into pieces and folded into the ice cream. Once I did that, the ice cream’s taste and texture was incredible…it was rich, satisfying and had a deep nutty caramel quality like nothing I’d tasted before. It had also become highly addictive.

To accompany the Sesame-Brittle Ice Cream, I made Coconut Tuile Cookies. The flavors of coconut and sesame bring out the best in one another other, and the lightness of the ultra-crispy thin cookie was a nice contrast to the deeper crunch of the brittle and creaminess of the ice cream…a match made in dessert heaven.

I love the Sesame and Coconut combo, but was wanting for an addition of something tart in the final dessert...I wanted something fresh, something tropical. My original idea was to make a mango sauce. However, there were no ripe mangoes at the market so my teacher bought a papaya instead. I cut the papaya open, scooped the seeds out and was struck by inspiration. I could serve my ice cream in a papaya “bowl”. I decided to brulee the papaya (so the surface would be caramelized with a thin, hard sugar layer that could be tapped and broken with a spoon.

Because the papaya was rather large…and because I was feeling heavy-handed with the ice cream scoop, I decided to make my ice cream concoction a dessert for two (to share or not to share….). I put the papaya bowl with Sesame-Brittle ice cream on top of a dark chocolate sauced plate. Then, I made a mini ice cream cone (using the Coconut Tuile Cookie for the cone). Some softly whipped cream, tuile, brittle and papaya made excellent garnishes. And, luckily, the ice cream was just starting to melt when I served it...

Sesame Ice Cream

1/2 cup unsalted tahini
1 cup cream
2 tsp sesame oil
2 cups milk
1/2 cup sgar
1/8 tsp salt

*optional - any sort of nut brittle...made using your favorite recipe or purchased*

Whisk together tahini and cream until smooth. Whisk in sesame oil. Add milk, sugar and salt and whisk until smooth. Chill and freeze in ice cream machine. If adding nut brittle, add at very last minute, just to mix it in.

1 comment:

Georgia Peach said...

wow! that dessert combination sounds amazing! I'd love to try it! i love your creativity-