Rowena’s shiso black sesame seed gelato

Shiso black sesame gelato

Continuing with the gelato experiments… MotH’s verdict: it’s good; make it again. Of course I had to put my signature on it. Oprah’s fennel, basil and vanilla ice cream in the previously tested recipe inspired me to come up with my own leaf/seed fusion gelato, but first I had to overcome one little detail – the color. I didn’t want charcoal black, prison gray, or the chalky white seen in other photos, but what I achieved was even more hideous — a custard base that looked like…..dirty tahini. That’s tahini not martini. Fortunately the unappetizing shade becomes lighter in the churning process, evolving into a pale green tea hue (gunpowder?) that makes a nice contrast with the black sesame seeds. The flavor is interesting in that you first get that minty-basil taste from the shiso, then it mellows with a buttery, nutty richness of the sesame. Very, very nice.


1½ cups whole milk (375ml)
1/2 cup heavy cream (125ml)
1/2 cup plain rice milk (125ml – if unavailable, use whole milk)
1 cup torn green shiso leaves, loosely packed
1½ tablespoons black sesame seeds, crushed (I used a mortar and pestle)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large egg yolks
1/2 – 1 tablespoon black sesame seed (to add to the gelato during the churning process)

Combine the whole milk, heavy cream, rice milk, shiso and sesame seeds in a small saucepot and heat on a medium-low flame until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Turn off the heat and let sit for 45 minutes.

Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until light in color. Strain the infused milk into a clean saucepot, discarding solids, and warm over low heat until hot to the touch. Temper the milk into the beaten egg/sugar by whisking in a small amount a little at a time. Pour this mixture back into the saucepot and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Cool completely before setting in the fridge overnight.

Churn according to directions for your gelato machine. I add the remaining portion of black sesame seeds almost at the end of the churning time.


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