Pudding, or purin as it’s called here, is a popular dessert in Japan. It is usually more firm than an American-style pudding, more like a custard’s consistency. The most common flavor is vanilla with caramel sauce. Another popular flavor is black sugar, which is a dark, slightly salty, molasses flavored sugar. One of my favorite flavors is black sesame. The pudding is flavored with sesame paste, which gives the pudding a strong sesame flavor, almost reminiscent of peanut butter.
This recipe is super-easy to make if you use Japanese sesame paste. Of course, you can grind your own sesame seeds too, but it will be a bit of work. If you are grinding your own sesame seeds, I recommend that you use a suribachi, a Japanese mortar and pestle. The texture of Japanese sesame paste is thinner than tahini, so it’s a good idea to look for the real thing at an Asian market, but if you can’t find it, it might be fun to experiment with tahini or another nut butter like peanut or almond. The black sesame paste gives the pudding a gray color, flecked with black bits of sesame. It may look a little strange at first, but once you taste it, you too will become a fan or gray desserts.
This recipe is adapted from a Japanese cookbook called Pudding Book by Junko Fukuda. While the vanilla pudding in this book is an egg-yolk custard, the black sesame pudding is set with gelatin, a bit like a panna cotta except that the milk and cream are not cooked. I actually found it almost a little bit too creamy, so I think I will experiment with using more milk or a lighter cream (I used nama cream 47, which I think has more butterfat than nama cream 35).
Kuro-goma purin – Black Sesame Pudding
2 teaspoons powdered gelatin
2 tablespoons lukewarm water
45 grams (about 3 tablespoons) kuro neri goma, Japanese black sesame paste
70 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
250 mL (1 cup) milk
150 mL (about 2/3 cup) cream
Put the water in a small dish and sprinkle the gelatin over the top. Set aside.
Stir the sesame paste well to incorporate the oil and sesame solids. Put the sesame paste in a large bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Next, stir in the milk a little at a time. Stir well to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved.
Microwave the softened gelatin for 20 seconds on high to melt it. Stir in a few tablespoons of the sesame-milk mixture. Then add the gelatin to the rest of the sesame-milk mixture and stir well.
Stir the cream into the mixture. Place the bowl over another bowl filled with ice water and stir well until the mix begins to thicken. Finally, strain the mix and pour into custard cups or a gelatin mold.
* if your neri goma has separated and is difficult to stir back together, try putting the lid on the jar tightly and leaving it upside-down for a few hours. It should be much easier to stir together afterwards.