There are many flavors of ice cream, but when you say 'bastani' in farsi, it specifically means this saffron rose ice cream. It is usually served between wafers as an ice cream sandwich, and you can find it everywhere during the summertime.
There are two main frozen Iranian treats: bastani and faloodeh. Both are flavored with rose water, but couldn't be more different. Bastani is ice cream, and faloodeh is a cross between a sorbet and a granita.
Persian ice cream, bastani, is saffron and rose flavored heaven. And this recipe has the perfect balance of saffron and rose.
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Why this Recipe Works
I grew up with this saffron ice cream, and it pairs wonderfully with rose. In this recipe, I've balanced the saffron and rose so that one does not over-power the other, and the harmony is perfection.
I have been making ice cream for longer than I can remember and have mastered the perfect ice cream texture. This recipe uses the ice cream base I have perfected to make this recipe.
I grew up enjoying bastani, and it is my grandmother's favorite. I have created this recipe with the critiques I've heard about the store-bought versions she and my mom have purchased.
Ingredients & Substitutions
saffron - make sure to purchase real saffron. You can read more about saffron in this post about saffron zoolbia. You can find it at middle eastern markets and even on Amazon.
rose water - different brands can have slightly different scents. The two brands I usually purchase are Sadaf and Cortas. My preference is Cortas, and the price is usually a little better.
milk - this recipe works best with full fat milk. I have tried it with coconut milk, but it varies significantly from brand to brand so I cannot recommend it.
cream - this recipe works best with heavy cream, but you can also use half and half. It will not be as creamy of an ice cream if you do.
sugar - granulated cane sugar works best in this recipe.
vanilla extract - you can substitute with 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or 1 vanilla bean pod.
How to Make this Recipe
Put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer overnight. The next day, whisk the yolks and sugar together in a small bowl until pale yellow. Meanwhile, warm the milk, rose water, and vanilla until it just lightly simmers.
Temper the egg/sugar mixture with the milk/vanilla mixture.
Return to the sauce pan and cook until thickened, stirring slowly and constantly. It should get to 170F and you can check it with an instant-read thermometer. Then, remove the pot from the heat.
Grind up and/or break the saffron threads and add them into the mixture. Also add the cream. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, add your chilled ice cream to the ice cream maker. Churn (stir setting) until it is the thickness of soft serve ice cream, 18-22 minutes. While churning, you can add pistachios if that is your preference.
Transfer to a container you can freeze, cover with parchment paper (optional), and freeze at least 4 hours. Covering with parchment paper keeps the top of the ice cream smooth and from hardening too much. You can also use a sealable container.
Note: Want more saffron flavor? Add an extra ¼ teaspoon of saffron. Want it more rose-y? Add a few drops of rose extract. Do not add more rose water or it will change the consistency of the ice cream.
To serve, either scoop the Persian ice cream into a bowl, onto a cone, or turn them into ice cream sandwiches. These flavorless wafers are the closest thing I could find to what my family enjoyed while they were in Iran, but they only come in sheets. Here is a thinner version. Use a 3-inch cookie cutter to get them into the right sized circles.
Persian Ice Cream FAQs
Saffron has a sweet, floral, light, earthy taste. Saffron ice cream enhances the sweet and floral notes.
Perisan ice cream is heavy on the heavy cream. Often, frozen chunks of cream are mixed into the base of the ice cream. It creates an almost gluten-like texture.
Saffron is the stigma and styles of a flower that blooms for only 4-10 weeks. The harvest is small, which is why saffron is so expensive. There are many saffron fakes out there, so make sure you are buying the real thing. You can tell it is real if you rub it between your fingers and it turns your fingers yellow.
Whether you're looking for ice cream or more Persian recipes, I've got you covered. But in the meantime, here are some of my favorite treats:
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Bastani - Saffron and Rose Ice Cream
- 5 large egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup rose water
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- pistachios optional
- Put the bowl of your ice cream maker in the freezer.
- Whisk the yolks and sugar together until pale yellow.
- Warm the milk, rose water, and vanilla until it just lightly simmers.
- Temper the egg/sugar mixture with the milk/vanilla mixture.
- Return to the sauce pan and cook until thickened, stirring slowly and constantly. It should get to 170F.
- Remove from heat. Add the broken down or ground saffron into the mixture. Add the cream. Chill in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next day, add your chilled ice cream to the ice cream maker. Churn (stir setting) until it is the thickness of soft serve ice cream, 18-22 minutes. While churning, you can add pistachios if that is your preference.
- Transfer to a container you can freeze, cover with parchment paper (optional), and freeze at least 4 hours.
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