CRAVE: Sesame-oat crumble adds easy sophistication to ice cream

This image released by Milk Street shows a recipe for Sesame-Oat Crumble. (Milk Street via AP)

For a sophisticated summertime dessert, it’s not always necessary to reinvent the wheel. A classic ice cream sundae will hit the spot with the right toppings.

It’s partly what we had in mind when developing this recipe for a sesame oat crumble in our book “Milk Street Tuesday Nights,” which limits recipes to 45 minutes or less.

This simple baked topping is a great way to add a nutty crunch to ice cream, though of course it also would improve other sweets, as well as breakfast yogurt.

We start with a mixture of oats, pumpkin seeds, brown sugar, flour, and white and black sesame seeds, then rub chilled butter into the mix to distribute the fat evenly. Tripling down on the sesame flavor, we fold into the oats a mixture of tahini (a paste of ground sesame seeds), sesame oil and vanilla extract, which adds a subtly sweet aroma.

If you prefer, instead of pumpkin seeds, use raw sunflower seeds or chopped nuts. And if you can’t find black sesame seeds, simply increase the white sesames to 3 tablespoons.

Once baked and chilled, crumble this nutty topping onto ice cream with whipped cream and chocolate or caramel sauce. And don’t forget the cherry.

Sesame-Oat Crumble

Start to finish: 40 minutes (15 minutes active)

Makes 3 cups


1/4 cup tahini

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

6 tablespoons packed light brown sugar

2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

1 1/2 tablespoons white sesame seeds

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) salted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled


Heat the oven to 350°F with a rack in the middle position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with kitchen parchment. In a small bowl, whisk together the tahini, vanilla and sesame oil. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, oats, sugar, pumpkin seeds, both sesame seeds and the salt. Scatter the butter over it and, using your fingertips, rub the butter in until the mixture resembles wet sand and holds together when pinched. Drizzle with the tahini mixture, then fold with a rubber spatula until combined and the mixture forms marble-size clumps; smaller and larger bits are fine.

Spread the mixture in an even layer on the prepared sheet. Bake until the crumble is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes, using a metal spatula to scrape up and flip the mixture 2 or 3 times during baking. Let cool to room temperature.


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