Persian Ice cream, The Frozen Souvenir from Persia


After wandering around narrow alleys of Yazd and sitting under the Khajoo Bridge in Isfahan during the hot days of summer, having Persian Ice Cream or Bastani Sonnati can soothe your soul and refresh your energy.

You can smell the fragrant of saffron and Persian rosewater even before receiving your order. The coldness of the Persian Ice Cream’s cup in your hand and its gorgeous yellow color are mood healers. 

Putting the first spoon of Persian ice cream in your mouth and letting it melt little by little evokes your senses and the sweet taste of the ice cream, along with the combination of saffron, rosewater, and pistachio makes you delighted and happy. 

The traditional way of serving Persian Ice Cream is by using small glazed bowls and putting the scoops of ice cream in it and garnish it with sliced pistachio. However, you also need to try ice cream cones and sandwich ice cream, which add extra deliciousness to your frozen dessert.  

Where Does Ice Cream Come From?

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The credit of inventing this fantastic life savor in hot days of summer goes to ancient Persia, known as Iran. According to BBC, Iranians invented ice cream in Yakhchals or cone-shaped structures that were used as ice storage in deserted areas of Iran. 

Before inventing the ice cream making machines, Iranians used to make ice cream for royal families by putting a bowl on a pot full of ice and filling it with milk and stirring it by rotational movement. Then, they used to add other ingredients such as saffron, rose water, and sugar to make it sweet. However, the key to making it look like the actual ice cream was to stir it for a long time, which was time-consuming and exhausting, but the result was worth it for sure. So, when Italians made the ice cream machines, the process of making this delicious frozen dessert got easier, and everybody could enjoy Persian Ice Cream. 

What Do We Need to Make Persian Ice Cream?

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Milk: The main ingredient of Persian Ice Cream is milk, especially goat milk, which is rich in fat. Goat milk gives a creamy texture to your ice cream and lets you enjoy the softness of your frozen dessert. However, you can use cow milk, and if you are a vegan, coconut or cashew milk would be great as substitutes. 

Goat milk is a perfect source of calcium and has lower lactose than cow milk. Therefore, your body can digest goat milk easier than cow milk. The mineral and protein in goat milk are beneficial for your skin as well, so you can put it in your diet instead of cow milk. 

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Saffron: When Iranians want to change something from perfect to extraordinary, they add saffron to it. This treasure brings you happiness and joy because of its anti-depression effects, so a cup of Persian Ice Cream is all you need after a long bad day to cheer you up. This magical powder makes you feel calm and stress-free, and its antioxidant effects prevent heart disease. 

Although it is totally fine and beneficial to use up to 1.5 grams of saffron per day, more than this amount would be toxic. Also, pregnant ladies need to be careful when they use saffron. Because saffron is considered as a risky item to use during pregnancy. 

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Egg Yolk: If you want to have soft and creamy ice cream with stable texture, you need to add egg yolks to your ingredients. According to Medical News Today, most of the benefits and nutrients of an egg are actually in the yolk. By using egg yolk, you can boost your immune system because of the certain compounds which exist in this item. Also, some experiments show that egg yolk can reduce blood pressure, which prevents the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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Rosewater: Rosewater is the item that Iranians hold dearly. This aromatic liquid can be very useful in Persian cuisine. People of Iran make different kinds of pastry, juice, and even food using rosewater. Also, in Persian culture, rosewater is the symbol of purity and spirituality. Besides these points, rosewater can make you calm and stress-free. 

And, you can use it to clean your skin and reduce its inflammation. 

How to Make Persian Ice Cream?

Step One:

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Combine the milk with heavy cream, sugar, saffron, and rosewater. Then, heat it until sugar is totally invisible, and you can see that it is simmering. 

Step Two:

 Whisk the egg yolks for a minute and then add the mixture of milk and other ingredients to the whisked egg little by little. You do not want to have scrambled eggs, so you need to be patient in this step.

Step Three: 

Then you need to put the ingredients back on the heat and stir it well on medium heat. Before seeing the ingredients start simmering, you need to turn off the heat and let the smooth mixture rest. 

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Step Four: 

You need to have a bowl full of ice and put the mixture on it and then start stirring it until seeing your mixture look more solid. And put it into the freezer for about 4 hours. 

Step Five: You can pour some cream in a tray and spread it. Then put it in the freezer for at least one hour. 

Step Six: 

Your Persian Ice Cream is ready to be served. You need to break the frozen cream into small pieces and garnish your ice cream with it. Then add some sliced pistachio on top of this yellow, frozen dessert and enjoy it!

How to Make Vegan Persian Ice Cream?

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No matter what your lifestyle is, you need to taste Persian Ice Cream. To make this wonderful frozen dessert vegan friendly, you can replace the dairy milk with coconut or cashew milk. Also, you should use ⅓ cup of agave syrup instead of the egg yolks. The rest of the recipe is exactly the same, but after putting the mixture in the freeze, you need to take it out and stir it every hour to give you a nice texture. 

Where Can You Eat the Best Persian Ice Cream?

If you are planning to travel to Iran, you need to try this delightful frozen dessert in different cities. There are some ice cream shops in different cities of Iran that make Persian Ice Cream slightly different from the others, so they are popular places for people to visit and buy ice cream.

In Tehran, you need to look for the Akbar Mashti store, which is known as one of the first people who used to make ice cream in Iran. Today, his grandchildren own the place and make some of the most delicious Persian Ice Cream in the world. Akbar Mashti’s tiny store can be found in Tajrish square, which is one of the oldest squares in Tehran. 

Isfahan: In Isfahan, you can visit Moshtaq Ice Cream located in Charbagh Khajoo. Therefore, after walking on Khajoo Bridge and enjoying the pleasant atmosphere of it, you can order Persian Ice Cream and get delighted by the amazing taste of it. 

Shiraz: If you ask a Shirazi where you can have the best ice cream, Baba Bastani would be their answer. This place is famous for the texture and taste of its Persian ice cream, so you need to go to Jahad Sazandegi street, which is the main branch of this store, and order your Persian Ice Cream there. 

Yazd: Shir Hosein Store is where you can find one of the best Persian Ice Creams in Yazd. Located in Shahid Motahari Street, this store is well known for its amazing Bastani Sonnati. Therefore, when you visit Yazd, which has high temperatures during spring and summer, you have to try ice cream there.

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