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Apple-Sesame Custard

July 29, 2013

Served chilled, this is a refreshing summer dessert.

Serves 6-8


  • 1 1/2 litres apple juice
  • 15g Clearspring Agar Flakes
  • 3 tbsp finely grated lemon peel
  • 5 tbsp tahini
  • a whole vanilla pod


  1. Put the apple juice, agar-agar flakes and lemon peel into a medium saucepan, and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes. Bring the mixture to the boil, then lower the heat, and simmer 3-5 minutes. Stir the custard every now and then with a wooden spoon until the agar-agar flakes have completely dissolved. Then remove from the heat.
  2. Put the tahini into a small bowl. Gradually add about 100ml of hot juice, stirring as you add it. When the tahini reaches a thin, creamy consistency, add it to the pot and stir it in. Slice the vanilla pod along its length, and scrape out the seeds. Mix this seedy paste into the custard.
  3. Rinse a shallow bowl or casserole dish in water, then pour in the hot liquid. Leave to cool until it’s firm. This will take a couple of hours. Zap the mixture in a blender until smooth. Leave the custard in a bowl in the fridge, then serve either on its own or as a topping for other desserts, like apple crumble.

Recipe adapted from Peter and Montse Bradford’s book Cooking With Sea Vegetables


John & Jan BellemeJohn & Jan Belleme

John & Jan Belleme are leading autorities on the healing powers of traditional Japanese foods. Before turning his focus to food and health, John was a research biologist for the Veteran's association in Miami, Florida, and he worked in laboratories at the Universities of Miami Medical School and Harvard University Medical School.

For more than twenty-five years John has applied his background in medical research to interpreting the literature on traditional Japanese medicinal foods.

In 1979, after living and studying in Japan for over a year - where the Bellemes learned the craft of miso making firsthand - they co-founded the American Miso Company, one of the world's largest producers of traditional miso.

Since the 1980s the Bellemes have researched and written, and in many cases illustrated, over 130 published articles on the subject of Japanese foods, including four books: Culinary Treasures of Japan; Cooking with Japanese Foods: A Guide to the Traditional Natural Foods of Japan; Clearspring - The Real Taste of Japan and The Miso Book.

John and Jan travel throughout the eastern United States giving lectures about authentic Japanese foods, and every winter, with partner Sandy Pukel, organise a week-long health cruise that features prominent experts in macrobiotic cooking, healthy living, holistic medicine, yoga, meditation, shiatsu, Pilates, and natural beauty aids. They live in Saluda, North Carolina.

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