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Japanese Black Sesame Pudding Recipe

This Japanese Black Sesame Pudding recipe is fairly easy to make, even if you’ve never made pudding from scratch before. With just a few simple ingredients, including black sesame paste, you can have a luscious Japanese dessert ready to go in no time.

Thanks to Lucy for contributing this authentic Japanese dessert recipe. Be sure to check out Lucy’s cookbooks on Amazon – The Wonderful World of Osechi: Japanese New Year’s Recipes and Easy Japanese Recipes for the Home Cook!

One taste of this black sesame pudding from Japan will forever change your opinion of black sesame seeds!

While black sesame seeds are great in savory dishes, be prepared to be surprised at just how impactful they can be in something sweet.

The burst of earthy flavor exploding in your mouth will wow you and leave you wanting more. Next time you crave a Japanese fusion dessert, Black Sesame Pudding is what to make!

✔️ What is Black Sesame Pudding?

When my college-aged daughter was home this past summer, we explored a lot of Japanese places in the Bay Area. One hot day, we dropped by Uji Time Dessert in Berkeley, CA. I love their motto: “Our goal is simple – Think of us when you crave Japanese fusion style desserts.”

They offer a wide variety of sweets and Matcha drinks on their menu, and of course, as usual, I ordered Matcha soft serve ice cream. My daughter was way more adventurous and ordered Black Sesame soft serve ice cream.

I was allowed one taste and it was AMAZING!

I never realized the complexity and depth of flavor that black sesames have. Needless to say, it changed my focus for the summer and led me to developing this recipe.

It took me four tries testing and tweaking it before I felt it was a winner. Of course getting my daughter’s approval was a must! Not easy, believe me!

Black sesame seems to be everywhere these days and for a very good reason. I was at a Shake Shack in Brooklyn and they were even selling a black sesame milkshake with frozen custard, which was quite delicious.

This recipe is fairly easy to make, even if you’ve never made pudding from scratch before. With just a few simple ingredients, including black sesame paste, you can have a luscious Japanese dessert ready to go in no time.

❓FAQ

Where to find black sesame paste?
Surprisingly, finding Japanese black sesame paste wasn’t easy. In the end, I found it on Amazon, as all the local stores were either always sold out or very pricey. Click here to see what I buy. When not using, I keep in the refrigerator (don’t leave it at room temperature).

Can I make a vegetarian version?
You can! You’ll just want to substitute agar-agar for the gelatin. Use two grams agar agar powder instead of the gelatin.

How is this recipe different from Japanese purin? 
To me, there is no comparison—Purin doesn’t use gelatin, and is baked, while black sesame pudding uses gelatin and isn’t baked. Definitely no comparison taste-wise. Purin is closer to a creme caramel.

How is this pudding different from mushi pudding or yaki pudding? 
Again, I see this as different—not steamed, etc.

Can I use brown sugar instead of white sugar? 
You could but the flavor would change somewhat. The stand out flavor is the black sesame paste– if I used anything else I would use lightly colored brown sugar.

Is this a traditional Japanese recipe?
Hmnnnn — more a fusion if anything. Need to remember, that sweets in Japan are very popular!

How are Japanese desserts different from western-style sweets?
This gets quite complicated depending on what type of sweets you are talking about, wagashi, dango, mochi desserts, grain desserts vs. rice flour based desserts etc. 

What type of fresh fruit could I serve this with? 
I never have–I don’t think it needs it. 

🛒 What You Need to Make This Recipe

Ingredients:

  • black sesame paste
  • whole milk
  • plain gelatin
  • white sugar
  • heavy cream
  • sweetened whipped cream
  • toasted black sesame seeds

Kitchen Tools:

  • small bowl
  • scale or measuring cups/spoons
  • small saucepan
  • whisk
  • two large bowls
  • hand mixer
  • small glass bowls and spoons for serving

👍 Recipe Variations, Notes & Tips

You’ll want to make a double-boiler of sorts – except with ice. Place one large bowl inside of a larger bowl filled with ice water. This will allow you to cool down the pudding quickly before pouring into small serving bowls and refrigerating to set.

Also, make sure that you are continuously whisking to incorporate the sesame paste into the milk-sugar-gelatin mixture before adding in the heavy cream. This is so the sesame paste doesn’t sink to the bottom of your serving bowls.

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😍 How to make Black Sesame Pudding

Ingredients

Garnishes

  • sweetened whipped cream (I added in a little confectioner’s sugar)
  • toasted black sesame seeds

Instructions

Place gelatin in a small bowl and add in a tablespoon or two of cold water – just enough to incorporate the gelatin into the water. Stir to mix. Set aside for a few minutes.

Heat the milk until warm in a small saucepan and add in the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, then add in the gelatin. Whisk until it dissolves. Take off the heat.

Pour the mixture into a deep bowl and add in the black sesame paste. Whisk to combine.

Place this bowl carefully into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Continue whisking to help it cool down quickly. Then whisk in the heavy cream.

Once cooled, pour into small glass bowls or other decorative glassware. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or more until the pudding has firmed up completely.

Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and toasted black sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

Looking for More Japanese Recipes?

Here are a couple of Lucy’s favorite savory recipes that are featured in her cookbooks (you can get them on Amazon by clicking on the links below):

From Easy Japanese Recipes for the Home Cook: Tendon (aka Tempura Donburi)

  • Chicken Mizutaki (a hot pot dish)
  • A whole chapter on Ramen!

From The Wonderful World of Osechi: Japanese New Year’s Recipes:

  • Toshikoshi Soba eaten on 12/31/21 to have good luck in the new year
  • Salmon and Salmon Roe Rice Cake Soup from Hokkaido eaten on Jan 1st.

Japanese Black Sesame Pudding Recipe

Japanese Black Sesame Pudding Recipe

With just a few simple ingredients, you can have a luscious Japanese dessert ready in no time.

Thanks to Lucy from Thanks for the Meal for sharing this recipe!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Chill Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons black sesame paste
  • 1 1/4 cup [300 ml / 10oz] whole milk
  • 1 packet plain gelatin
  • 2 Tablespoons white sugar
  • 1/3 cup [100 ml / 3oz] heavy cream
  • Optional garnish: sweetened whipped cream (I added in a little confectioner's sugar)
  • Optional garnish: toasted black sesame seeds

Instructions

    1. Place gelatin in a small bowl and add in a tablespoon or two of cold water – just enough to incorporate the gelatin into the water. Stir to mix. Set aside for a few minutes.
    2. Heat the milk until warm in a small saucepan and add in the sugar. Once the sugar has dissolved, then add in the gelatin. Whisk until it dissolves. Take off the heat.
    3. Pour the mixture into a deep bowl and add in the black sesame paste. Whisk to combine.
    4. Place this bowl carefully into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Continue whisking to help it cool down quickly. Then whisk in the heavy cream.
    5. Once cooled, pour into small glass bowls or other decorative glassware. Place in the refrigerator for at least an hour or more until the pudding has firmed up completely.
    6. Garnish with sweetened whipped cream and toasted black sesame seeds, and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. You can buy black sesame paste here.You’ll want to make a double-boiler of sorts – except with ice. Place one large bowl inside of a larger bowl filled with ice water. This will allow you to cool down the pudding quickly before pouring into small serving bowls and refrigerating to set.
  1. Also, make sure that you are continuously whisking to incorporate the sesame paste into the milk-sugar-gelatin mixture before adding in the heavy cream. This is so the sesame paste doesn’t sink to the bottom of your serving bowls.
  2. Thanks to Lucy for this authentic Japanese dessert recipe!

Want more recipes?

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About Lucy

Lucy’s culinary resume in Japan includes being a restaurant critic, food historian, writer, and the owner of her very own cooking school, Lucy’s Kitchen. As the editor of Gochiso-sama! (Thanks for the Meal)—her original culinary newsletter on Japanese cuisine, she shared her original Japanese recipes. As a food blogger, she continues her Japanese journey with a food blog Thanks for the Meal.

Lucy’s cookbooks The Wonderful World of Osechi: Japanese New Year’s Recipes and Easy Japanese Recipes for the Home Cook are available for purchase, both through Kindle and softcover through Amazon.

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