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Tahini and dates give two summery frozen treats a Middle Eastern twist.

Tahini and Silan “Ice Cream” is a flavored vegan frozen dessert with earthy sesame seed paste and sweet tart silane (aka date syrup, date honey or date molasses). It makes a perfect not-too-sweet scoop of parve on its own or as part of a sundae drizzled with date, caramel or chocolate syrup and topped with non-dairy topping and chopped dates and nuts.

The Tahini-Banana-Date Shake is a riff on the date shakes I enjoy on desert trips. Make it vegan and make it with almond milk and non-dairy ice cream, or make a dairy version with regular milk and ice cream. Try topping it with a swirl of topping or whipped cream, finely chopped dates, and a drizzle of silan or other syrup.

I serve both desserts with a coconut whipped topping (see below).

Tahini and silan are available in some supermarkets and specialty, Middle Eastern and Kosher markets as well as online.


“Ice Cream” with Tahini and Silan

For 6 persons

  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups unflavored, unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup of tahini
  • ¾ cup silan (date syrup)
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • Granulated sugar, as needed

Sift together the icing sugar and cornstarch (or use a spoon to strain through the strainer) to make sure there are no lumps. Put aside.

Pour the almond milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk occasionally until the milk comes to a simmer. Slowly stir in the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Whisk continuously until well incorporated with no lumps. Keep the almond milk boiling and whisk often for 20-25 minutes until reduced by about half (1½ cups). Stir in tahini, silan, lemon juice and salt. Taste and add granulated sugar until the base is slightly sweeter than you would like, as freezing will dull the sweetness. Transfer to an airtight container. Refrigerate for about 4 hours, until chilled, or overnight.

Churn the cold mixture in an ice cream freezer according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Churn for about 20 to 30 minutes until the dessert does not become thicker. (It will still be very soft.) Transfer to a freezer container and freeze at least 2 hours before serving. Can be prepared up to 5 days in advance.

Variation: Substitute ½ cup of honey or agave syrup if silan is not available and increase the lemon juice to ¼ cup.

Coconut Whipped Topping: Refrigerate a can of coconut cream (the kind for cooking, not for cocktails) overnight. Place the solids in a bowl. Beat on high power with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Sweeten with icing sugar to taste. Or purchase coconut whipped topping in ready-to-use spray cans from specialty grocers or health food stores.


RELATED: Skewers Turn Paprikash Into the Perfect Grilled Summer Dish


Shake Tahini-Banana-Date

For 2

  • ¾ cup unflavoured, unsweetened milk or almond milk, plus more as needed
  • 6 large dates, pitted and chopped
  • 6 Tb. tahini
  • 2 medium bananas, peeled and frozen (see notes)
  • ½ cup of ice cubes
  • 1½ cups dairy or non-dairy vanilla ice cream

Place milk, dates and tahini in mixing bowl. Stir over high heat until well combined and the date pieces are very small. Stop the mixer to scrape down the sides and stir as needed.

Cut the bananas into 1 inch pieces. Put in the blender jug ​​with ice cubes. Blend on high power until incorporated, stopping the mixer to scrape down the sides and stir as needed. Add milk by the tablespoon as needed for a smooth texture.

Add ice cream. Mix on high speed, stop mixing and scrape and stir as needed. Blend until smooth.

Serve immediately in tall chilled glasses.

Remarks: A medium banana is 7 to 8 inches long. Peel the bananas and freeze them in plastic wrap for 2-3 hours or until solid. Can be frozen up to several months in advance.