The heavenly floral fragrance and flavor of roses is perfectly captured in this rather unusual frozen confection. In Persian cuisine, this ice cream treat, called “Bastani”, also contains saffron and toasted chopped pistachios. However, I’ve kept the recipe simple and affordable, as saffron is very expensive; but the option is provided if you choose to be traditional. I’ve also added beet powder to produce the lovely pastel rose color, but this is purely optional and should be omitted when preparing Bastani. An ice cream maker is required for this recipe.
A word of caution! Floral flavors in food are exotic and unfamiliar to most Westerners. I recommend adding ½ tsp of rosewater to 4 oz. of non-dairy milk and tasting it to see if you find it agreeable before making an entire quart of ice cream. When blending the mixture for the ice cream, begin with 1 tablespoon of rosewater, taste it and then add more to your liking.
• 1 and ½ cup (7.5 oz.) whole raw cashews
• 3 cups filtered water
• 1 and ¼ cup organic sugar
• 1 to 2 T rosewater (available where Middle Eastern foods are sold)
• ½ tsp guar gum
• optional: ½ tsp beet powder for color (omit for Bastani and use a few saffron threads instead)
• optional: ½ cup unsalted, toasted and chopped pistachios
Soak the cashews in water for a minimum of 8 hours. Drain and discard the water and add the cashews to a high-powered blender. Add the filtered water and process on high speed for 2 full minutes.
Thoroughly strain the cream through a nut milk bag or through a strainer lined with 4 layers of cheesecloth. Gently massage the bag to help the cream pass through or stir the cream in the strainer with a spoon.
Add the cashew cream back to the blender with the remaining ingredients, EXCEPT for the optional pistachios, and process briefly until combined. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and is heated through. Do not boil.
Note: If you’re making traditional Persian Bastani, add the saffron threads while the mixture is cooking. After cooking, pass the mixture through a strainer to remove the threads and proceed with the recipe as usual.
Remove from the heat and let cool until warm (stir the mixture occasionally to discourage a “skin” from forming on the surface).
Once cooled, pour the mixture into a container with a lid and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. When well chilled, pour the cream mixture into your ice cream maker and process the mixture according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. If using pistachios, add the pistachios at this time (or simply top the prepared ice cream with them). The ice cream will freeze hard when stored in the freezer.
To serve, thaw briefly until it reaches the desired texture for scooping.