My summer has gotten away from me, as it often does. I’ve gone on vacations, attended weddings and spent more than a fair amount of time in the sun, but I realize now, as the end of summer approaches, that I have completely ignored one of my favorite parts of this season: homemade ice cream. This recipe is an apology to my ice-cream maker, whose canister has sat, alone and unused, in the depths of my freezer.
Halvah, the Middle Eastern confection, comes in many forms, but I’m most familiar with sesame halvah, in which tahini is a primary ingredient. It’s sweet, but also earthy and rich. And I love the inimitable texture, which always reminds me of astronaut food.
When it comes to ice cream, sometimes keeping it simple produces the best result. I considered trying to incorporate tahini into the custard base, or trying to melt the halvah along with the cream and milk, but I decided that a simple, sweet custard with halvah and sesame seeds mixed in at the end would best preserve the candy’s texture. The result? A recipe that’s easy to prepare and ends up tasting like butter pecan, with flaky, dense strands of halvah in every bite.
Halvah Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups heavy cream
¾ cup whole milk
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla
3 large egg yolks
⅓ cup sugar
2 ounces sesame halvah, crumbled
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1. In medium pot, whisk together cream, milk, honey, vanilla and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until it reads 175 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until combined. Remove from heat.
2. Slowly drizzle 1 cup cream mixture into yolk mixture, whisking constantly to avoid curdling yolks. Once combined, return cream-yolk mixture to pot and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture registers 180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
3. Once custard reaches temperature, remove from heat. Fill large bowl with ice and water and place empty, medium bowl in prepared ice bath. Place fine mesh strainer in medium bowl. Pour custard through fine mesh strainer. Allow custard to cool in ice bath for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, then cover and place in refrigerator for at least two hours, until chilled.
4. Churn custard in ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once churned to desired consistency, stir in halvah and sesame seeds. Transfer to airtight container, place a sheet of plastic wrap on surface of ice cream, then cover container and freeze for at least eight hours before serving.
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