I’m not much of a drinker. Some might call me a cheap date. If you haven’t already guessed I would always prefer to chew my calories. That said, a few weeks ago a sesame-infused vodka crossed my path and I went for it! Alcohol that tastes like food is OK by me.
The vodka happened at Morimoto where I was celebrating the birthday of my dear friend Miriam with many elaborate courses of raw fish, soy, and scallions, topped with various emulsions, pastes, and roots. There were a lot of unidentifiable, tasty things very artfully plated. Truth be told we’ve reminisced much more about the Japanese-style toilets (those crazy jets!) than the food but it was still a great evening with the ladies. And according to me, someone who knows nothing about cocktails, they had some really fabulous cocktails! My fav was a sesame-infused vodka drink with raspberries. What else was in there? Who knows. I can’t remember any other specifics. But I could tell you more about the heated toilet seats.
Despite the selective amnesia, I came home from that dinner inspired. Sesame-infusing sounded like something I should try. Coincidentally Gus has been telling me to write about infused milks for weeks. He thinks that flavored dairy, i.e. cinnamon or cardamom milk, is a genius way to reinvent the classic beverage and change breakfast forever. Does milk need reinventing? I’m not completely
convinced that anyone would be interested in pouring sesame-flavored milk over a bowl of cereal. After a few heated discussions in the apartment I decided to take my infusing in a different direction. Sesame raspberry popsicles! It's summer. It's sunny. And making room for the popsicle molds gave me a good reason to finally clean out the freezer.
Like a little food scientist, I set to work infusing the milk a bunch of different ways before settling on a method. I found that whole, raw seeds gave the milk just enough
of a round, nutty sesame flavor without imparting too much of the usual
bitterness. There is a slight edge – think mild tahini – but not enough to overwhelm the sweet, bright raspberry puree. They make a pretty happy pair.
So here you go - very sophisticated and pretty
enough for a party Creamy Sesame and Raspberry Popsicles. I was feeling really good about this one, thinking that I
had really created something special when Gus told me that they taste kind of like a
sesame bagel with raspberry cream cheese. Interesting. Not what I had in mind but I'll take it. Maybe I have reinvented breakfast!
Creamy Sesame and Raspberry Popsicles
Just for looks I used white sesame seeds to infuse the milk and black in the finished pops. Infusing the milk with black seeds turned it grey and the white ones didn't show up as well in the finished product. But if that seems overly complicated, go ahead and use whichever sesame seeds you like.
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces frozen raspberries, thawed (frozen are cheaper and more reliably sweet - perfect for pops!)
7 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/2 cup white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
1. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch with 2 tablespoons milk. In a small saucepan combine remaining milk, cream, white sesame seeds, 4 tablespoons sugar, and cornstarch mixture. Bring to a boil over medium, stirring, and cook until thickened slightly, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and let the sesame seeds steep for at least 1 hour. (I popped mine in the fridge over night covered with plastic wrap.) Strain milk mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard sesame seeds.
2. In a food processor, combine raspberries and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and blend until smooth. Strain raspberry puree through a fine mesh sieve and discard seeds.
3. Add a few black sesame seeds to each pop mold, then add some raspberry mixture, and then some milk mixture. Top off each mold with any remaining raspberry mixture and a few more black sesame seeds. Secure the lid, add sticks, and freeze until firm, at least 12 hours.