Today we're going to be making Persian ice cream (Bastani in Farsi), and if you've never tried it you're in for a treat! Its creamy base, infused with saffron spice and rose water is unlike anything you've ever tasted. The traditional recipe can be a little time consuming however, so we're going to skip the hours of churning and jump right in with some pre-made vanilla from the store. Here's what you'll need ... —bastani
Line a small dish with plastic wrap and pour 2 tablespoons of cream in so it's evenly spread across the dish. Freeze for 2 to 3 hours. You may wish to do this the night before to save time. This will be added later as a topping for an extra burst of creaminess.
Empty the vanilla ice cream in to a large bowl and allow it to melt for 10 to 15 minutes so it's easy to mix with other ingredients. Be careful not to let it melt completely as it might refreeze with water crystals and you want it to be as creamy as possible.
Boil some water in a kettle and pour half a cup into a bowl. Add a quarter teaspoon of granulated saffron and stir until it mostly dissolves, leaving a lovely deep yellow dye. If you have larger pieces of saffron you can use the back of a teaspoon to grind it down before adding it to the water.
Let it brew for 1 to 2 minutes and then pour it into the bowl with the ice cream. Mix thoroughly so the ice cream turns and even yellow color throughout, giving it that distinctive bastani tinge.
Next add half a cup of rosewater and continue to mix thoroughly. This will produce a wonderful light floral flavor that's particularly refreshing on hot summer days.
Depending on you and your guests' personal preference, you may wish to add the pistachio nuts now so they are infused throughout the ice cream, or you can add them later as a topping.
To ensure that everything is well-mixed you may wish to use a whisk or hand blender, but a large wooden spoon is fine if you put in some elbow grease. The traditional recipe is all made by hand, so a little stirring won't hurt!