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Rosewater Ice Cream

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This easy-to-make rosewater ice cream incorporates rosewater and chopped pistachios. Take a cue from traditional Persian bastani and, if you like, add a half teaspoon of saffron powder to give your ice cream a golden hue and a hint of earthy sweetness. Or replace the rosewater with orange blossom water and add a half teaspoon of ground cardamom for yet another variation on this delightful summer treat.


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½–¾ cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2-3 saffron threads (ground into a powder with a mortar and pestle (optional))
  • 2-3 tablespoons rosewater
  • ½ cup salted pistachios (chopped)


  • Combine the cream, milk, and sugar in a medium saucepan and place it over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot. (Do not boil).
  • Remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and slowly stir in a cup of the hot cream mixture to temper it (this keeps the eggs from curdling). Stir the egg-cream mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the cream and return the pan to the heat.
  • Stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens, about 10 minutes. (It will not be as thick as a pudding; it's more like a crème anglaise — a French custard sauce.) Remove from the heat (if using the saffron threads, dissolve them in the rosewater before adding), and stir in the rosewater and taste. Add a little at a time until it has the flavor you want.
  • Freezing modifies the flavor of ice cream — once it's frozen, it will not taste as sweet — so if you like a sweeter ice cream, use the greater amount of sugar; if you prefer the flavor of rosewater, add a little more of that.
  • Strain the custard into a bowl to get a nice smooth consistency. Chill the custard (if you are in a hurry, place the bowl of custard over an ice bath and stir it until it's cold; if you have more time, just put the bowl in the refrigerator). Once the custard is cold, process it according to the instructions on your ice cream maker.
  • Garnish with sprinkles of pistachio before serving.
Course: Dessert
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