125g white sesame seeds
200ml whole milk
300ml cream
4 medium egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
2-3 tablespoons demerara or other sugar

These brûlées look really pretty topped with black and white sesame seeds, and the sesame flavour is delicious. You can buy both toasted and untoasted black sesame seeds, so if yours are already toasted, just toast all the white seeds together in the oven and take one tablespoon from those to add to the black for the topping, rather than setting it aside pre-toasting.


1.Preheat the oven to 150℃.
2.Arrange 6 small ovenproof ramekins in a baking tin.
3.Set aside 1 tablespoon of the white sesame seeds then put the remaining white sesame seeds on a baking tray and bake for 6-8 minutes, stirring once, to toast.
4.Put the toasted white sesame seeds in a food processor and process for about 10 seconds to crush the seeds.
5.You want them quite broken up, but not turning into a paste.
6.Put these into a saucepan with the milk and bring to just below the boil, then remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
7.Strain the cooled milk mixture, using a spatula to press out as much of the milk as you can from the seeds. You want to end up with at least 125ml milk. Discard the seeds.
8.Put the strained milk mixture into a clean saucepan with the cream and gently heat to boiling point.
9.While the milk-cream mixture is heating, put the egg yolks and caster sugar in a medium-sized heatproof bowl (sit this on a wet cloth to keep it from moving while you stir), and stir until just combined.
10.When the milk-cream mixture begins to boil, take it off the heat and slowly pour it on to the yolk and sugar mix, stirring constantly to mix – I like to do this with a whisk to help mix in the yolks quickly, but make sure you stir rather than actually whisk, as you don’t want froth.
11.Divide the mixture among the ramekins then pour cold water into the tin until it comes two-thirds of the way up the ramekins.
12.Bake for about 15-20 minutes for shallow dishes and 20-25 minutes for deep ramekins.
13.Start having a look at the earlier timings – the custard should still wobble a little when shaken.
14.Cool and then chill until cold.
15.Heat a small frying pan over medium heat and toast the black sesame seeds and reserved tablespoon of white sesame seeds together until the white are turning golden.
16.To serve, scatter the tops of the cold brûlées with the demerara sugar, and use a blowtorch or hot grill to caramelise the tops.
17. Finally, scatter with the toasted sesame seeds. If you are using a grill, you may want to put them back in the fridge for half an hour before serving to cool down again.

Recipe and Styling Fiona Smith / Photography Aaron McLean / Styling Ellen J Hemmings

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