Persian Saffron Ice Cream

By Matty Zar

Mastering Bastani: The Art of Persian Saffron Ice Cream

"Chill & Thrill: Crafting Saffron’s Frozen Symphony in Bastani!"

Savouring the Essence of Persia: Crafting Saffron-Infused Bastani

Embark on a culinary journey to create the ultimate Persian ice cream, Bastani. Each ingredient plays a pivotal role in delivering its quintessential taste and texture. Embrace this refined list of key ingredients with a spotlight on the importance of Saffron:

Saffron Powder: The Star Player. Infuse your milk with top-tier saffron powder for that classic golden hue and distinctive flavour. The Saffron's quality is the secret to nailing that signature Bastani taste and colour.

Saffron Threads: The Finishing Touch. These saffron threads are more than just a garnish; they're a nod to authenticity sprinkled atop the ice cream for an extra layer of sophistication.

Rose Water: A Fragrant Whisper. This delicate essence is vital to capture the true soul of Persian ice cream.

Full Cream Milk: Creamy Dreams. It's the creamy canvas upon which your Bastani masterpiece will be painted.

Heavy Cream: The Silky Smooth Operator. This ingredient is the key to a luxurious, velvety texture.

Sugar: The Sweet Harmoniser. Since 'Salaab' is a rare find outside Iran, sugar perfectly balances the aromatic Saffron and enchanting rose water.

Roasted Chopped Pistachios: The Crunchy Companions. They add texture and enhance the flavours of Saffron and rose water with their earthy goodness. A tiny pinch of salt can be added during the roasting stage of pistachios to elevate all the other flavours.

Quality is king in Bastani, especially when it comes to saffron powder. Premium-grade Saffron is your ticket to achieving that luxurious flavour and vibrant colour, turning your Persian ice cream into a genuinely indulgent and extraordinary treat.

Crafting Bastani's Heart: Saffron-Infused Milk


Step 1: Selecting and Preparing the Saffron

Choose high-quality saffron powder, the cornerstone of Bastani's distinct flavour profile.

Directly mix the saffron powder into room temperature full cream milk. The fat in the milk acts as a carrier for the Saffron's aroma. At the same time, the water content absorbs its vibrant colour, creating a harmonious blend.

Step 2: Infusing Saffron in Milk

Allow the Saffron to steep in the milk at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes. In this stage, you can use a clean wooden spoon and, once in a while, mix the milk and saffron mixture very gently to make sure the saffron powder is distributed evenly through the milk. This duration allows the Saffron's flavour and colour to aromatise thoroughly into the milk.

The room temperature infusion is critical. The traditional method enriches the milk with a pleasant aroma and preserves the Saffron's delicate essence.

Step 3: Integrating Rose Water

Once the Saffron is thoroughly infused into the milk, gently mix it in the rose water. Adjust the quantity based on your taste preference and the volume of your ice cream mixture.

Expert Tips for a Perfect Saffron Milk Infusion

Quality Saffron Powder: Essential for imparting a rich, authentic flavour and a beautiful golden hue.

The Room Temperature Infusion technique is perfect for preserving the delicate flavours of Saffron. At the same time, the fat content in milk captures and retains its aromatic properties. Mixing at any other temperature or high speed can cause the milk to lose its consistency. For instance, too much mixing can separate the fat content from the milk, while high temperatures can cause the milk protein to burn.

Thorough Mixing: Ensures even distribution of Saffron in the milk for consistent flavour and colour using only a clean wooden spoon with a gentle motion.

Infusion Time: Critical for allowing the Saffron's properties to fully merge with the milk, enhancing aroma and taste.

This method of preparing saffron-infused milk is not just a step in making Bastani; it's a celebration of traditional culinary wisdom, ensuring your Persian ice cream is imbued with the luxurious flavour and aroma that make it uniquely delightful.

Crafting the Persian Ice Cream Mixture is an Art

Make sure you are not rushing into anything, and put your best energy into crafting the Persian Ice Cream Mixture, an art. Making the base for Bastani involves a harmonious blending of saffron-infused milk, sugar, cream, aromatic rosewater, and roasted, crushed, and slightly salted pistachios.

Here's a guide to creating this delightful base, ensuring it reaches the perfect consistency and flavour.

Step 1: Combining Saffron infused milk, pure cream, and Sugar- Take a large saucepan and pour in three times the amount of milk to one time pure cream. Keep aside two times the amount of cream for later use. You can use only the first amount of cream to make the recipe, especially if you have any health concerns. You can adjust the ratio of milk to cream to your liking for richness.

Step 2: Add sugar to the mixture. The amount of sugar can be varied according to your preference for sweetness. A good starting point is a cup of sugar for every five cups of liquid. Remember that Saffron, milk, cream, and rosewater all contain their own natural sweetness, so less sugar may result in better taste.

Please note that to dissolve the sugar properly, you can use powdered sugar instead of regular crystallised sugar. You can make powdered sugar by grinding the regular sugar in a standard grinder. Mix the sugar into the saffron-infused milk. Additionally, if you prefer, you can use vanilla to enhance the dish's aroma. However, it is not a traditional ingredient in the recipe.

Step 3: Cooling and Chilling

After you mix all ingredients and ensure that sugar has been dissolved thoroughly and milk and cream been completely incorporated, cover the mixture and let it rest in the fridge for 4 hours. Chilling the base before churning is critical to achieving that perfect creamy texture.

Following these steps, you'll create a luscious, flavourful ice cream base ready for churning. The key to a successful Bastani lies in the delicate balance of flavours and the smooth consistency of the base, setting the stage for a truly authentic Persian ice cream experience.

Churning and Freezing the Ice cream

After creating your aromatic ice cream base, the next crucial steps are churning and freezing. This process is critical to achieving authentic Persian ice cream's signature soft, creamy, and slightly stretchy texture.

Using an Ice Cream Maker

1. Preparation: It is crucial to make sure that the bowl of your ice cream maker is fully frozen before using it. To achieve the desired result, it is usually necessary to freeze it for at least 24 hours beforehand.

2. Churning: Pour the chilled ice cream mixture into the maker. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for churning time, which typically ranges from 20 to 40 minutes.

Adding two portions of the side cream into the mixture is essential during the ice cream-making stage. When the mixture starts to become firm, add the first portion and let it mix for 5 minutes (the time may vary depending on your technique). Then add the second portion with your roasted pistachio and stir until ready to move into the freezer. This will add a chunky layer of cream to your ice cream, which is a delightful addition to the final product.

Note: Adding the side of cream is optional but it will make a different to the final product's texture and taste, and it is a heritage formula. This also will add a chunky layer of frozen creamy taste to your ice cream, which is a delightful addition to the final product.

3. Texture Check: The ice cream should have a soft-serve consistency. It should be creamy and smooth, with a slight elasticity.

4. Final Freeze: Transfer the churned ice cream to a safe container in the freezer. Cover it and freeze until it reaches your desired firmness, usually about 2 to 4 hours.

Manual Method for Those Without an Ice Cream Maker

1. Initial Freeze: Pour the ice cream mixture into a shallow, freezer-safe container. Freeze it for about 2 hours or until the edges start to get firm.

Note: You can cover the mixture using a wrapping material that touches the ice cream to prevent any potential condensation and formation of ice.

2. Stirring: Remove the mixture from the freezer and stir vigorously with a fork or whisk. Add one portion of whipped cream while stirring to ensure a smoother texture.

3. Repeat: Return the mixture to the freezer and continue to check and stir it every 30 minutes for 2 to 3 hours. Add your crushed roasted pistachio and a third portion of pure cream. Each time you stir, the mixture becomes thicker and creamier.

Note: Adding the side cream is optional but essential to the final product's texture and taste, and it is a heritage formula. This also will add a chunky layer of frozen creamy taste to your ice cream, which is a delightful addition to the final product.

4. Final Consistency: The ice cream is ready when it's creamy and holds its shape but still has a bit of a soft, stretchy quality.

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Texture

  • Consistency is key: Whether using an ice cream maker or manual methods, ensure that the ice cream has a smooth consistency that holds together well but is not too hard or icy.

  • Patience pays off: Do not rush the freezing process. Slow and steady freezing helps create a smoother texture.

  • Frequent stirring for manual method: If you are making ice cream manually, frequent stirring is crucial to prevent ice crystals from forming. We suggest setting your alarm to get the mixing and stirring every half an hour. Incorporate air and mix the crunchy pistachio to contribute to a creamy-crunchy texture.

  • Temperature control: Keep an eye on your freezer temperature. If it is too cold, the ice cream may freeze too hard, losing its creamy texture.

By carefully following these churning and freezing steps, you will create a delightful Persian ice cream that is a treat for the palate and a celebration of texture and tradition. The result should be a creamy, soft, and slightly stretchy ice cream, embodying the essence of Persian culinary artistry.

The Persian Ice Cream Sandwiches: A Twist on Tradition

Once you've churned your Persian ice cream to perfection, why not serve it uniquely and delightfully?

The Persian ice cream sandwiches offer a fusion of crispiness and textures by bringing a flat and delicate wafer into the story! Here's how to assemble these creative, delicious, elegant twists.

Traditional Sandwiches with Thin Wafers

1. Choosing Wafers: Select thin, crisp wafers. These could be plain or flavoured – pistachio or almond wafers work beautifully for an extra nutty crunch.

2. Layering the Ice Cream: Place a scoop of your Saffron, pistachio ice cream onto one wafer. Gently press another wafer on top to form a sandwich. The ice cream should spread to the edges of the wafers.

3. Freezing for Firmness: Wrap each ice cream sandwich in parchment paper and place them in the freezer for about an hour. This step ensures the ice cream is set firmly, making the sandwiches more manageable to handle and eat.

Suppose you want to try something new and exciting. In that case, you can make Pistachio-Studded Rose Petal Sandwiches using edible rose petals. Flatten the petals and create any shape you like. Next, pour a small amount of honey over them to bond them. Sprinkle salted roasted pistachios or nuts over them and then put them in the freezer for 30-40 minutes until they hold the shape. You can use them like delicate wafers to sandwich your ice cream.

Some Persian ladies are very creative and use colourful edible flowers to create vivid art pieces that are also delicious.

Additional Tips for Perfect Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Size Matters: To make the sandwiches more manageable to eat and balance the flavours of the ice cream with the wafers or petals, it is recommended to keep your ice cream scoops modest in size.

Serving Immediately: If you're serving ice cream sandwiches at a gathering, it's best to prepare them in advance and keep them in the freezer. Serve them straight from the freezer to maintain their shape and texture.

Customisation: Experiment with different wafers, biscuits, edible flowers, or even chocolate to create a unique and exciting ice cream sandwich experience.

Assembling these Persian ice cream sandwiches is a fun and creative process that introduces a traditional dessert in a new and interactive way. Whether you choose the classic wafer approach or the more decorative rose petal method, these sandwiches will be a delightful end to any meal. They combine the rich heritage of Persian ice cream with a touch of modern culinary artistry. 

Would you like to turn your Persian ice cream into a dream?

Persian ice cream, also known as Bastani, is a dreamy dessert that tastes heavenly and looks stunning. To make it even more dreamy, adding the proper garnishes can take it to a whole new level of elegance. Some garnish options include chopped, roasted, lightly salted pistachios, a dollop of whipped cream, rose petals, fresh mint, saffron threads, and chocolate. These final touches can enhance the overall taste and presentation of your Bastani, making it a dreamy delight for your taste buds.

Conclusion: Embracing the Exotic Flavours of Persian Ice Cream

As we wrap up our culinary journey into the heart of Persian cuisine with Bastani, I encourage you to bring this exotic dessert into your kitchen. Making Persian ice cream at home is not just about creating a delightful treat; it's about immersing yourself in a rich tapestry of flavours and traditions. The unique combination of milk, Saffron, and rose water combined with pistachio coupled with rich pure cream creates a complete, nutritionally rich ice cream that offers an unforgettable, refreshing, healthy, low-sugar, luxurious experience.

There's a particular joy in exploring new cuisines; Persian ice cream is a perfect example. Whether you're a mum, food enthusiast, or seasoned chef, creating this ice cream from scratch is an exciting and rewarding masterpiece. It's one of the easiest ways to travel through taste and explore the depths of Persian flavours without leaving your kitchen.

Additional Tips for the Perfect Persian Ice Cream Experience:

Storing Homemade Ice Cream

• Homemade ice cream is best enjoyed fresh but can be stored in the freezer for up to two weeks.

• Keep it in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn and to maintain its creamy texture.

• To enjoy it at its best, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving to soften slightly.

Dessert Pairings: Persian ice cream pairs wonderfully with other Middle Eastern sweets. Try serving it alongside Baklava, with its layers of filo pastry, nuts, and syrup, or with a slice of rich, dense Basbousa.

Beverage Pairings: in the Persian heritage culture, warm and cold never get eaten at the same time due to the concern for mouth cavities and teeth health; however, in modern cafes and Arabic countries, "Persian Saffron Ice cream "is considered a delicacy and they usually serve it with the bitter strong Arabic coffee or a cup of hot tea made from mint.

By trying out this recipe and these serving suggestions, you'll enjoy a delicious dessert and gain a deeper appreciation for Persian culinary arts. Making and serving Persian ice cream is as much an artistic expression as a culinary endeavour, allowing you to explore and celebrate the rich heritage of Persian flavours in every scoop. So, gather your ingredients and embark on this flavourful adventure – your palate is in for a treat!

FAQ: Ice Cream Making, Persian Saffron Ice Cream, and Persian Sweets

1. What makes Persian saffron ice cream different from regular ice cream?

◦ Persian saffron ice cream, or Bastani, is distinct due to its unique blend of Milk, Cream, Saffron, rose water, and pistachios. It not only offers a luxurious flavour and a slightly stretchy texture but is nutritionally balanced, and those who are concerned about eggs don't need to worry at all because it is purely free of any egg and its products.

2. Can I make Persian saffron ice cream without an ice cream maker?

◦ Yes, you can manually freeze and stir the mixture regularly to prevent ice crystals and achieve a creamy texture. However, it may not be as smooth as an ice cream maker.

3. How do I know if I'm using high-quality Saffron?

◦ High-quality Saffron has a deep red colour and a rich aroma and imparts a strong, distinctive flavour and colour to dishes. 

4. What popular Persian sweets pair well with saffron ice cream?

◦ Faloodeh is a traditional and excellent pairing with saffron ice cream for a diverse taste experience as "Faloodeh" is semi-frozen and always garnished with fresh lemon. Hence, the acidity cuts the fat and sugar in the ice cream and makes it a heavy combo.

5. How long can I store homemade Persian saffron ice cream?

◦ It's best consumed within two weeks when stored in an airtight container in the freezer.

6. Can I use saffron threads in the ice cream instead of powder?

◦ Saffron powder is preferred for even distribution of flavour and colour, but threads can be used for garnishing.

7. Is rose water essential for making Persian saffron ice cream?

◦ Yes, rose water is crucial for authentic flavour. It adds a floral note that complements the Saffron.

8. What is the ideal texture of Persian saffron ice cream?

◦ It should be creamy and smooth, crunchy and crisp, slightly stretched and softer than typical Western ice creams.

9. Can I make vegan Persian saffron ice cream?

◦ Yes, you can use plant-based milk and cream alternatives, though the texture and flavour may vary slightly.

10. Are there any non-dairy alternatives for people with lactose intolerance?

◦ Yes, Lactose-free milk, Almond and Coconut milk and cream can be used, but the texture might differ from traditional Bastani.

Checkout our other Saffron Recipes Here