I'm not exactly sure why, but I kind of have a thing for desserts that taste like soap. Rose water, orange flower water, violet. I love it all. I just want to eat anything that tastes like it fell out of Bath and Bodyworks. They feel a little exotic and awfully romantic, like something Marie Antoinette might have eaten.
Usually, this relegates me to the realm of Middle Eastern desserts or macarons. Don't get me wrong, I love Turkish delight, Persian fairy floss, and nougat. And I'd never turn down a good violet-blackcurrant macaron or two. But flowery desserts are a bit harder to come by than most. You can't just walk into any bakery and buy a rosewater cookie. Lucky for me, I'm heading out to the Middle East in March.
Unbeknownst to the friends who I'm traveling with, my trip is centering around desserts. It will be a whirlwind tour of floral sweets and little else. Forget riding camels in the desert. Forget lying on the beach in Dubai. Forget wadi bashing. It's all about the dessert.
Rose Ice Cream with Candied Pistachios
Makes about 1 quart
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
1 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 egg yolks, whisked slightly
1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
2 drops red food coloring
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a rimmed baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and water. Toss pistachios in sugar mixture until completely coated. Spread on prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool and harden. Scrape from baking sheet and set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the heavy cream, whole milk, and sugar. Heat until just warm to the touch. Pour a little of the milk mixture into the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Scrape egg yolks into saucepan and stir to combine. Heat on medium-low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, stirring occasionally. Stir in rosewater and food coloring. Pour mixture through a strainer into a large bowl. Chill bowl in fridge until completely cool. Once cool, freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Once the custard has solidified, fold in candied pistachios. Transfer to a container and freeze until ready to eat.
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