Saffron & Orange Blossom Ice Cream “Bastani”

The Persians introduced ice cream and a few other icy desserts to the Arabs after their invasion of Iran. Ice cream itself reached Europe by way of the Arab invasion of Sicily in the 8th century, so Ice cream is definitely a Persian thing ๐Ÿ˜Š

Traditionally “Bastani” has a chewy texture due to the addition of Salep which is a flour made from the tubers of a type of Orchid (sort of like a cornstarch) but my recipe has left this ingredient out and kept things VERY simple! This particular Ice Cream recipe can be adapted to many different flavours but the more water based and fruit flavourings you add the more ice crystals that form and then you loose that luxuriant creamy texture. For example โ€“ you can swap out the saffron & orange blossom for 3 shots of espresso and you will get the BEST coffee ice cream you have ever tasted. However if you add a punnet of pureed strawberries the water content of the strawberries will mean you change the texture of the ice cream โ€“ so perhaps cook the strawberries down to condense the flavour and reduce the water content before you add it to the cream and condensed milk!

I love serving this creamy decadent treat with my rose & walnut baklava which is also in the recipe section of my blog.

Whilst Ice Cream is generally seen as a summer style dessert it’s eaten in Iran all year round and I LOVE serving it in winter with a fruit crumble or pie or even a chocolate brownie โ€“ so winter or summer itโ€™s a perfect dessert to have on standby โ€“ and this recipe is such a pleasure to make with such pleasing results โ€“ there is really no excuse to NOT having home made ice cream in the freezer!

I love making this Ice cream recipe with spices and maple syrup and serving it with poached pears for example


Serves 8 – (you can easily double or triple this recipe!)

2/3 can condensed Milk  (385g per full can)

250ml Whipping/regular Cream 

2 tbsp quality Orange Blossom Water  (I get mine from the Olive Branch Deli)

2 tbsp Saffron water (take a pinch of saffron and grind it in a pestle and mortar – then add 2 tbsp water)

Slivered/ground Pistachios and dried roses to decorate 


Whip the cream, condensed milk, saffron and Orange Blossom water until it is in stiff peaks and then place in a container and freezeย .

In the video below I whip the cream and then add the condensed milk but the above method works better.

Watch my video on how to make this delectable treat here!

You need to freeze for up to 7 hours or overnight – no need to churn – that’s the beauty of this recipe! You can also pour it into little glasses or tea cups for serving and freeze so you can serve it like that, however I like to scoop it our and serve it with baklava or a Persian style halva or even fruit crumble.