Halva Ice Cream

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Our halva ice cream is infused with sesame & packed full of homemade vanilla halva. Incredibly creamy & intensely nutty, this one’s a real winner!

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halva ice cream

If you haven’t tried halva ice cream before, you’re missing out! This is a next level flavour that’s extremely creamy & packed full of tahini-y, vanilla halva goodness. And like all of my ice cream recipes, it’s super easy to scoop.

For the most intense, halva flavour, we’re incorporating sesame in a few different ways. First, we’re infusing the milk & cream with roasted sesame seeds then we’re adding tahini into the custard & finally, folding homemade halva into the churned ice cream. This doesn’t overpower the ice cream though but instead, gives it a well rounded nutty flavour!

This ice cream is great eaten on its’ own, served alongside something chocolatey or topped with fruit (banana works really well!).

We’re constantly adding new ice cream recipes to the blog but if there’s a flavour that you want to see, let us know in the comments!

What Is Halva?

Halva is a traditional sweet from the Middle East that is similar to fudge. The way that is is flavoured can vary from country to country but almost all recipes contain tahini (sesame paste).

To make halva, tahini is mixed with a hot sugar syrup & any flavourings. Ours also contains vanilla & a pinch of salt. It’s important to use a good quality tahini here so that the flavours come through.

Once mixed, the halva is left to set then cut into pieces. As ours is going into ice cream, it will be cut into small pieces.

vanilla tahini halva

Ingredients Used

Sesame

Traditional halva is made from sesame, so we’re incorporating it into this ice cream in a few different ways. You will need sesame seeds to infuse the custard & a good tahini paste for the ice cream & halva.

Vanilla

Vanilla & sesame work really well together. Adding a small amount of high quality paste to the ice cream & halva adds another layer of flavour.

Milk & Cream

We’re using whole milk & double/heavy cream for this recipe as they contain the most fat. In ice cream, the right amount of fat will give us a smoother texture & a rich flavour. It will also make the ice cream easier to scoop.

Sugar

Light brown sugar & glucose syrup are used for this batch of ice cream. Both of these add sweetness & the glucose helps prevent ice crystals forming. This makes the ice cream smooth & creamy. We’re using light brown sugar for it’s deep, caramelised flavour.

Milk Powder

Without getting into the science too much, milk powder absorbs water & helps emulsify the ice cream which in turn, adds creaminess. Using the right amount is crucial as too much milk powder will turn the ice cream gritty. I use Nestle’s whole milk powder.

churned halva ice cream

How To Make Halva Ice Cream

We’re making our ice cream with an egg custard as our base. This will give us an ice cream that is rich, smooth & easy to scoop. Infusing the milk & cream with roasted sesame seeds & tahini is what imparts a deep, nutty flavour.

Step 1 – Infusing The Milk & Cream

The first step is to infuse the milk & cream with sesame. To do this, we roast sesame seeds until they are a deep, golden brown then add them into warm milk & cream, along with sugar, vanilla & a pinch of salt. This is then left to steep for 1 hour.

Step 2 – Making The Custard

To make the custard, we take the infused milk & pass it through a sieve into a saucepan, pressing as much liquid out of the sesame seeds as possible. To this, we add in milk powder, glucose & tahini. This is then set over a low heat until steaming.

Next, egg yolks & sugar are whisked together then tempered with some of the hot milk. We then add this mix back into the milk & cook out until it is thick. We’re taking the custard to a temperature of 82°c/180°f to ensure that the yolks are cooked enough.

For a super smooth texture, we blitz the custard with a stick blender then pass it through a sieve.

Once cooked, the custard needs to cool down then get refrigerated overnight. This helps the flavour develop & also means that the custard will be cold when it goes into the ice cream machine, shortening the churn time.

Step 3 – Making The Halva

Next up, it’s time to make the halva. First, we mix together tahini, vanilla paste & a pinch of salt until smooth. Next, we cook sugar & water together until it is syrupy & has reached a temperature of 121°c/250°f.

The hot syrup is then folded into the tahini until just combined. It’s important not to overmix the halva as this will make it too crumbly. After mixing, the halva is transferred to a lined tin, left to cool then set in the fridge overnight.

Step 4 – Churning

The next day, the ice cream will be ready to churn. To do this, we pour the chilled custard into an ice cream machine & churn until it is the consistency of soft serve. If you take the temperature with a food probe, it will be around -5°c/23°f.

Whilst our ice cream is churning, we need to cut the halva into small pieces, using a sharp knife. The size of the halva pieces is down to personal preference but I’ve gone with a mixture of small & larger pieces for some added texture.

Once the ice cream has finished churning, we mix in the halva pieces, transfer to a container then leave to set in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours before serving.

vanilla halva ice cream

Homemade Ice Cream Tips & Tricks

  • Chill your custard overnight for a better flavour & texture.
  • Dip your scoop in hot water for easier scooping!
  • Set your freezer to 18°c/-1°f for the best set.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need an ice cream machine?

For the best results, you will need to use an ice cream machine. These can be picked up online for various price points but the investment is worth it!

How long does homemade ice cream keep for?

Homemade ice creams are best eaten within 2 weeks of being frozen. After this time, large ice crystals will start to form, affecting the texture.

Do I need to use glucose?

For the best texture & for easy scooping, you will need to use glucose. This can be found in most supermarkets or online.

Where can I get tahini from?

Tahini is available from most supermarkets or can be bought online.

Equipment Used

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Halva Ice Cream

Our halva ice cream is infused with sesame & packed full of homemade vanilla halva. Incredibly creamy & intensely nutty, this one's a real winner!
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Churn Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour 15 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Servings: 6 People
Author: Ben Racey

Equipment

  • Ice Cream Maker
  • Large Saucepan
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Sieve
  • Ice Cream Scoop
  • Digital Food Probe
  • Digital Scales
  • Stick Blender
  • Baking Tray

Ingredients

Sesame Ice Cream

  • 40 g Sesame Seeds
  • 420 g Whole Milk
  • 250 g Double Cream
  • 130 g Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Paste
  • ¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 1 tbsp Tahini
  • 40 g Glucose Syrup
  • 25 g Whole Milk Powder
  • 85 g Egg Yolk

Vanilla Halva

  • 85 g Tahini
  • ½ tsp Vanilla Paste
  • ¼ tsp Fine Sea Salt
  • 100 g Caster Sugar
  • 30 g Water

Instructions

Sesame Infused Cream

  • Preheat an oven to 180°c/160°c fan (355°f/320°f).
  • Spread your sesame seed out on a baking tray & roast for 10-15 minutes or until a deep golden brown.
  • In a large saucepan, place the milk, cream, half the sugar, vanilla & salt.
  • Place over a low heat & cook until steaming.
  • Stir in the sesame seeds & leave to steep for 1 hour at room temperature.

Ice Cream Base

  • Pass the sesame cream into another saucepan, through a sieve. Push the seeds down with a spoon to release as much liquid as possible.
  • Add the tahini, glucose & milk powder into the cream, whisk to combine then place over a low heat.
  • In the meantime, combine the egg yolks & remaining sugar in a large mixing bowl.
  • When the milk is steaming (don't let it boil!), pour a third into the yolks, whisking as you do so.
    This is called tempering the yolks.
  • Pour the now tempered yolks back into the saucepan then cook over a low heat until the custard reaches 82°c, making sure to stir constantly with a rubber spatula.
  • Remove from the heat then give the custard a quick blitz with a stick blender.
  • Pass into a bowl, through a sieve & leave to cool, stirring occasionally.
  • Once cool, place a piece of baking paper onto the custard’s surface & refrigerate overnight.

Halva

  • Line a small tin or dish with baking parchment.
  • Place the tahini, vanilla & salt into a mixing bowl & stir together until smooth.
  • Next, place the sugar & water into a small saucepan & place over a medium heat.
  • Cook until the sugar has dissolved then increase the heat to medium-high & boil until the syrup reaches a temperature of 121°c/250°f.
  • Remove the syrup from the heat & carefully pour into the tahini.
  • Fold the syrup & tahini together until just combined then transfer to your lined tin.
  • Leave to cool completely then cover & store in the fridge overnight.

Churning

  • The next day, pour the chilled custard into an ice cream machine & churn until it is the consistency of soft serve. If you take the temperature with a digital food probe, it will register roughly -5°c/23°f.
  • Whilst the ice cream is churning, take the halva out of the fridge & cut into small pieces. I like to cut some pieces small & some large.
  • When the ice cream has finished churning, fold in the halva then transfer to a 1 litre tub.
  • Leave to set in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours then serve.

Notes

To roast the sesame seeds in an Aga, place the tray of seeds onto the second from bottom set of runners in the baking oven. 
Homemade ice cream will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
I would recommend using Nestle’s whole milk powder.

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