rose water’s mother passed on this recipe for her “semi-homemade” version of akbar mashti, an Iranian ice cream flavored with saffron and rose water. Rose water can be an acquired taste, as it reminds some of soap, but avowed rose water-haters have scarfed this up with abandon.
grated orange zest (optional)
1 half gallon vanilla ice cream, softened
2 tsp. rose water
fresh pistachio slivers
Pour a 1-cm. layer of cream in a small (approx. 4×4-inch) container, stirring in a pinch of orange zest if desired, and freeze until solid. When frozen, cut into 1/2-cm. squares. Grind a large pinch of saffron to a powder in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Add 1/4 tsp. saffron to 1/4 cup hot water; the water should be a deep orange color. In a large mixing bowl, combine a few cups of ice cream, the rose water, the frozen cream chunks and some of the saffron water; stir until the color is uniform. Add more saffron water until the ice cream is sunflower yellow. Add more ice cream, more saffron water; stir. Continue until you’ve incorporated all the ice cream (combine more saffron powder and hot water if necessary to maintain the color of the ice cream). Scrape the mixture into a container and place in the freezer until it’s refrozen. Top servings with pistachio slivers.