Okay okay, the REAL moment you've all been waiting for: a post of a recipe from my recent travels.
I think I was really inpired by all the Persian food in Damascus. Upon the recommendation from various people, we visited Bakdash, a famous ice cream parlor deep in the Al Hamidiyeh Souq. It would have been easy to miss, but for the line of Syrians out the door, ordering ice cream cones and pots of custard crusted in pistachios.
What's so big about the ice cream at this place?
One taste and we understood.
All the custard is house-made. Not too sweet, with just a hint of rosewater, and covered in pistachios. Of course, the first thing I did upon my return to Maroc was to hunt down rose water and try to recreate it as best I could, minus an ice cream maker. Here's a recipe that doesn't require one...perfect for summer:
Rose Pistachio Saffron Ice Cream
- 2 cups whole milk or 2% low-fat milk
- 2 1/2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 6-8 egg yolks
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 cups pistachio nuts, chopped (If using salted ones, make sure to soak and drain first)
- 3-4 tablespoons rose water or 3/4 teaspoon rose extract (make sure you get extract without alcohol, or else your ice cream will never freeze....and you'll never be able to serve it to your Muslim friends. Oops!)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (also without alcohol)
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron, ground and dissolved in a tablespoon of hot milk
- 1 pinch salt
- In a medium thick-bottomed bot, slowly heat the milk to boiling while stirring. Add the vanilla extract and saffron. Continue to cook on low heat, stirring occasionally while doing the next step.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until smooth and foamy. Very carefully and slowly, pour the egg/sugar mixture into the milk. Make sure to stir it rapidly with a fork or use a whisk while pouring (or you will end up with scrambled eggs in the ice cream!).
- Continue heating the mixture on low heat while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until thickened (it should be foamy and coat the spoon).
- Pour the custard mixture into a bowl, and refrigerate until well chilled.
- Once cold, stir in the cream, rose water or extract, and chopped pistachios.