Friday, December 4, 2009
Orange Sesame Tuile Ice Cream
It’s hard not to love the simplicity of sesame seeds. For this ice cream, I took some deliciously chewy Sesame Honey Tuiles and folded them into a vanilla ice cream base that is flavored with orange zest, a tiny hint of cardamom, honey and a splash of orange flower water. The result has a Middle Eastern feel to it but also seems like it could just as easily be discovered on the sidewalks of Italy. Whatever culture it recreates for you, I think you’ll enjoy the wonderful flavor and slight sweetness of the ice cream combined with the subtle but distinctive nuttiness of the sesame cookies, an indelible combination of flavors and textures in any world.
Sesame seeds have a long and storied history. They are mostly familiar to us through the cuisine of Asia and the Middle East or as a garnish on breads and crackers, but they were first domesticated in India and are thought to be a symbol of immortality in some Hindu legends. Sesame seeds were introduced in this country by African slaves and since the Mende name for sesame seed is bene or benne, you may find some pastry recipes from the south that use that term.
These cookies are great on their own. They’re very easy to mix and they take just a few minutes to bake. Once they cool, they turn into light, crisp and delicate celebrations of the chewy lightness of sesame seeds. But I highly recommend the ice cream in order to fully enjoy the intriguing flavors of both as they mingle together in absolutely blissful harmony.
- Tuile is the French word for “tile” and in pastry the term usually represents a light, thin, crisp cookie that is sometimes shaped like a roof tile.
- The Sesame Honey Lace Tuiles are based on an old Gourmet recipe. I’ve reduced the sugar and added orange zest and a pinch of salt. If you're just making the cookies, you could also add some spice if you’re so inclined.
- You can make the Sesame Honey Lace Tuile batter ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before forming the cookies.
- Chill the ice cream base overnight to let the flavors bloom.
Orange Sesame Tuile Ice Cream
1 1/2 C whole milk
1 C heavy cream
1/4 C + 2 T sugar, divided
1 T honey
2 cardamom pods, crushed
zest of 1 orange
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch of salt
2 t orange blossom water
1 C chopped Sesame Honey Tuiles (recipe below)
Combine the milk, cream, 1/4 C sugar, honey, cardamom pods, citrus zest and pinch of salt in a saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer over medium low heat. Turn off the heat, cover and steep for about 20 minutes to a half hour. When the flavor is right, remove the cardamom pods.
Whisk the yolks with 2 T sugar until completely blended. Pour a bit of the warm cream mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly. Slowly add the remaining cream and return the mixture to the pan. Keeping the custard at a low simmer, cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it, about 4 to 6 minutes. Do not boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean container. Whisk in the orange blossom water and cool completely. Cover the custard and refrigerate overnight.
Coarsely chop about 1 C of Sesame Honey Lace Tuiles into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Freeze the ice cream according to your machine’s instructions.
Fold in the chopped tuiles. Pour the ice cream into a clean container, press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface, cover and place in your freezer until firm.
Sesame Honey Lace Tuiles
based on a recipe from Gourmet
Makes about 30 cookies
1/4 C + 2 T confectioner’s sugar
1 1/2 T butter
1 1/2 T honey
1 T water
zest of 1/2 orange
1/2 C sesame seeds
2 T flour
Place confectioner’s sugar, butter, honey, water, salt and orange zest in a saucepan and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Boil for 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in sesame seeds and flour until mixture is thoroughly combined. Cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350°F and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Take half-teaspoons of dough, shape into balls and arrange 4" apart on baking sheets. Bake cookies in batches in upper and lower thirds of oven, switching position of sheets halfway through baking, 7 - 8 minutes, or until cookies are flat and golden. Slide parchment with cookies to racks to cool. Cool baking sheets a couple of minutes and line with fresh parchment between batches.