Citizens, few things delight the sweet tooth (specifically, my left bicuspid) of your beloved leader – the Excellency exemplified by the mighty TFD! – more than ice cream!
Perhaps the ultimate expression of ice cream – – is bastani, the saffron, pistachio and rosewater-flavored ice cream with frozen cream chunks beloved by Persians/Iranians and ice-cream cognoscenti alike!
As noted on the Iran Chamber Society website, there is a noble history to this most sophisticated of desserts:
Iranians acquainted to ice cream when Iranian King, Nasser-o-ddin Shah of Qajar, in his trip to Europe enjoyed French ice cream in Paris.
The monarch expressed his wishes to introduce ice cream to Iran but he never could fulfill it. Later on, his successor, Mozaffar-o-ddin Shah, did introduce ice cream to the court only. After its arrival to Iran, ice cream never left the palace walls until early 1920’s.
With the advent of Reza Shah of Pahlavi, the ice cream reached the streets of Iranian cities and continued its journey to the hearts of Iranians. This was the beginning of Iranians love affair with ice cream. They started to create their own version with rich flavors.
Akbar Mashti, his real name was Akbar Mashhadi Malayeri, was the first to vend ice cream in Iran. He was born in 1878 in a remote village of Malayer county near Hamadan.
At his early age, he left his village and came to Tehran. Before engaging in the ice cream business Akbar Mashti tried and experienced variety of jobs, like taking sugar and tea to the northern cities and bringing back firewood, to make a living.
During his stay in Tehran, Akbar Mashti was acquainted with Mohammad Rish, who maintained good ties with the courtiers of Persian king, Mozafar-o-ddin Shah. This friendship with Mohammad Rish resulted him to come in touch with ice cream.
Akbar Mashti and Mohammad Rish opened the first ice cream shop in Tehran near the Railway in Tehran in late 1920’s. Some few years later Mohammad Rish abandoned the job but Akbar Mashti continued with selling ice cream.
He created the Iranian version of ice cream, which is now famous as “Akbar Mashti Bastani” and loved by every Iranian. Akbar Mashti Bastani contains rose water, cream, saffron and salep.
Akbar Mashti was reputed for his honesty, sincerity and always offering the same best quality ice cream. He passed away at the age of 92 as a result of kidney failure.
My friend Cyrus, possessed of a most noble and historic name in Persian history, is a connoisseur of bastani and he has personally endorsed my version of the recipe for this classic dessert!
It is not difficult to make, but does use some unusual ingredients including salep, the powdered root of a special orchid that gives this Persian ice cream a unique stretchiness! You can purchase salep on Amazon here.
Battle on – The GeneralissimoPrint
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2 ½ cups heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 cups sugar
- ½ tsp. Salep (optional but recommended)
- 1 ¼ cups pistachio nuts, chopped (If using salted ones, make sure to soak and drain first)
- ¼ cup Sicilian pistachio paste
- 3 – 4 tablespoons rose water or ¾ teaspoon organic EDIBLE rose extract
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon saffron, ground and dissolved in a tablespoon of hot milk
- 1 pinch salt
- Garnish with sugared rose petals, crushed pistachios and perhaps a few pomegranate seeds
- Lay a medium-sized zip-bag or freezer bag in a flat dish and pour 100ml of the cream into it. Close the top and spread the cream to a thickness of about one and half millimetres. Put in the freezer.
- In a medium thick-bottomed bot, slowly heat the milk to boiling while stirring. Add the vanilla extract, salep, pistachio paste and saffron. Continue to cook on very low heat for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally while doing the next step. It will reach a pudding consistency as it is cooked. Let it cool.
- 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!).
- Let it cool.
- Transfer it to a bowl and put in the freezer – let it sit there for 30 minutes.
- Take it out and whisk constantly with a fork for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the ice cyristals you see around the top of the container. Put it back into the freezer.
- Repeat this 4-5 times in every 30 minutes. You will see how it stretches when whisking. If you whisk it letting it stretch, it’s better.
- Take the frozen layer of cream out of the freezer and cut the bag open. Chop the frozen cream with a knife into penny-size pieces.
- After the final whisking, stir in the cream, rose water or extract, and chopped pistachios.
- Transfer the mixture in an airtight container and freeze for 5 hours.
- Garnish as indicated.
- To make sugar-coated fresh rose petals:
- Pick a rose bloom that has just opened and you are 100% certain has never been sprayed with pesticides. DO NOT USE STORE-BOUGHT ROSES!
- Pull the petals apart and rinse under cold water. Spread on kitchen paper to dry. Meanwhile make a heavy syrup with ½ cup of sugar and ½ cup of water. Boil until the syrup is thick and lightly coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and add one tablespoon rosewater. Mix well.
- Use chopsticks to drop the rose petals in the syrup and coat them well on both sides. Then dredge the petals one by one in fine sugar. Put the petals on a mesh sieve to air dry for as long as a day. Use to decorate the ice cream.
- Category: Recipes
- Calories: 1323.85 kcal
- Sugar: 113.93 g
- Sodium: 160.96 mg
- Fat: 87.09 g
- Saturated Fat: 41.67 g
- Trans Fat: 0.0 g
- Carbohydrates: 123.83 g
- Fiber: 4.75 g
- Protein: 20.52 g
- Cholesterol: 508.21 mg
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