Some people add 50g small chips of frozen double cream about five minutes before the freezing time is finished instead of salep, but it does not give the same elastic and satiny consistency that is the hallmark of this ice-cream.
1tsp liquid saffron (optional)
1tsp coarsely chopped pistachios
To make the liquid saffron
To make liquid saffron, ensure that the saffron is completely dry. If you suspect it may not be, then put 20-30 pistils in a tiny mortar and place in a warm oven for a few minutes.
Add half a dozen grains of sugar and with the pestle crush the saffron and sugar to a fine powder. If using within an hour or two, mix with four or five teaspoons of tepid water and leave to infuse to a deep orange colour. If the ground saffron is mixed with boiling water it can be kept in a jar for several weeks.
To make the ice-cream
Turn on the ice-cream maker to chill. And put a bowl in the freezer to chill.
Beat the milk, sugar and rosewater together. While beating, sprinkle in the powdered salep until the sugar and salep are completely dissolved. If desired, stir in the liquid saffron at this stage.
Pour into the ice-cream maker and freeze, turning for 25 minutes. If wished, chop the frozen double cream into small pieces and add to the ice-cream five minutes before the end of the freezing.
When softly firm, pile the ice-cream into the chilled bowl and garnish with chopped pistachios.
Recipe taken from The Legendary Cuisine of Persia. Photography by Regula Ysewijn