Black sesame dice

Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 5
Black sesame dice
(Los Angeles Times)

Stir together the black sesame seed paste and simple syrup in a small saucepan. Add about three-fourths cup water and stir to blend. The mixture should look like paint. You may need to add more or less water depending on the sesame paste used. Heat just until simmering around the edges. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice.


Add the gelatin sheets to a large bowl of cold water and let bloom 4 minutes. Remove the gelatin from the water and squeeze out excess water. Add the gelatin to the sesame seed paste mixture and stir until the gelatin dissolves completely.


Pour the mixture into a lightly oiled 8-inch glass loaf dish. Chill several hours or overnight until gelatin is set.


To make the sesame nougatine, combine sugar and 2 tablespoons water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, occasionally brushing down the sides of the pan with room temperature water. Cook until the syrup turns amber color (hard-crack stage, 300 to 310 degrees), about 9 to 12 minutes. Stir in the sesame seeds.


Pour the caramel out onto a Silpat or parchment-lined cookie sheet, spreading the caramel out to about one-eighth-inch thick. Let cool to room temperature, about 10 minutes, then crack some of the nougatine into 5 small shards for garnishing and break the rest into small pieces with a heavy glass so the candy is broken, not crushed.


Muddle the raspberries with 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice. Add 1 tablespoon of water or more to give them a saucy consistency.


To serve, loosen the edges of the gelatin with a spatula. Invert it onto a flat tray and turn the top side up. Trim about a quarter-inch around the edges so all sides are square. Cut into 1-inch cubes (use a knife sprayed with cooking spray for easier cutting). Arrange 5 cubes on a plate. Garnish with a shard of nougatine and sprinkle broken nougatine and a drizzle of muddled raspberries.

From Josh DeChellis, chef at Sumile and Jovia in New York. Black sesame seeds and black sesame seed paste are available at Asian markets. Make a simple syrup by heating one-third cup sugar in one-third cup water until it dissolves.

Betty Hallock was the deputy Food editor, covering all things food and drink for the Saturday section and Daily Dish blog. She started at The Times in 2001 in the Business section and previously worked on the National desk at the Wall Street Journal in New York. She’s a graduate of UCLA and New York University.
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