Mom Knows Best!

Persian Ice Cream 5 arrMy mom has taught me everything I know – from Persian culture to family values, and the importance of ongoing learning. A gem in her own right, my mother has and persists to display multifaceted talents. Crafty yet studious, successful in business ventures as much as a leading parental figure, she’s – without a doubt – the person to whom I look up and admire, and fortunately, my personal ‘go-to’ when presented with life’s question however big or recipe-related.

 

On this Mother’s Day, my mind easily trails to an endless memory bank of times I shared with my mom. Moments for which I’m grateful, and instances that are now family stories in great thanks to my mother who selflessly took every spare moment she had to spend with her children. Always giving of herself, she put ‘quality’ in every minute, hour and all times that are now made eternal.

Persian Ice Cream 3 arrIn celebration of my mom and all mother figures, I like to dedicate this post to past memories and some made new. Regardless of the month or season, every year has been touched by my mom. From devouring a plateful of homemade Christmas cookies, to custom-made birthday cakes, my mom started traditions that were made to last. Effortlessly working to make every occasion special, she continues to approach holiday dinners with the same level of attentive care and happily creates festive menus and table spreads that are thematic and attune with hand-selected patterned dishes, flatware, drinking glasses and centrepiece arrangements. Again taking time, she not only ‘makes things happen’ but, too, adds an element of magic to transform otherwise ordinary events into something beautiful.

In recollection of one of my fondest childhood memories, every trip to the mall included a stop at the ice cream parlour – my favourite scoop in a cone, mint chip for my sister, and French vanilla for my mom. Clearly, this family loves ice cream. And for the creation of more sweet memories, my mother has passed on the tradition of making and appreciating Persian food, including traditional desserts.

Persian Ice Cream 8 arrGladly following in my mother’s footsteps, I hope to have honoured both her teachings and our heritage with the making of a delectable recipe fully-loaded with nostalgia. Hoping you, too, will share something sweet with your mother-figure, here’s what I learnt from the ‘wise’ one: a popular Persian Ice Cream commonly known as ‘bastani Akbar Mashti’ and ‘faloodeh’.

Having the fortune to savour my mother’s cooking, I need no formal introduction to the distinct floral tastes identified with these icy desserts. Inclusive of saffron, rosewater, pistachios and frozen pieces of whipping cream, this vanilla-based ice cream dessert was first invented by ‘the man,’ Akbar Mashti. Rightfully named, then, ‘bastani’ simply refers to ice cream in Farsi.

As easy to make as reading the ingredient list, anyone can share and delight in their very own homemade batch of Persian Ice Cream. Starting with pure vanilla bean ice cream – homemade or already-made, preferably premium grade – allow the ice cream contents to slightly soften, and then mix-in the following: 1 cup of pistachios, 1/4 cup of rosewater, 1/16 teaspoon ground saffron, and 500 mL of whipping cream for ultra richness – freeze cream separately, and break into pieces prior to incorporating – and when well-combined, place the container back into the freezer to solidify the jewelled ice cream prior to serving. In case it helps, here’s some pearls of wisdom passed from mum: a little goes a long way with saffron so – however tempted to intensify colour of your ice cream – be careful not to overpower the dairy contents or otherwise risk gaining an adversely medicinal tasting dessert. Also, I first bloomed the portioned saffron into the measured rosewater, and later incorporated the perfumed liquid gold to the ice cream.

Persian Ice Cream 10 arrHighly satisfying as-is, ‘bastani’ can even be sandwiched between two wafers or enjoyed alongside ‘faloodeh’. Perhaps unfamiliar to some, ‘faloodeh’ is essentially cooked rice noodles that have been frozen with rosewater infused simple syrup. Short on ingredients and steps, less is definitely more with this fragrant dessert. Once prepared and semi-frozen, be sure to comb it over with a fork – like a granita – as it does not share the same consistency as ice cream. Finally ready to serve, you can enjoy ‘faloodeh’ in all its rosy glory for an extra hint of tart and sweet tastes top it with a squeeze of fresh lime juice or sour black cherry syrup – and, that’s all she wrote!

From my mother’s kitchen to yours, these Persian desserts are family favourites and simply worth having any time of year. Using these recipes or alternate expressions of thanks, I hope you have the opportunity to treat the parental figure who has left a lasting imprint on your life with daily tokens of gratitude. And on that note, this one’s for you – Love you, Mum!!

Copyright © DISHFUL, 2017. All Rights Reserved.

Off to Work We Go!

MendiantAngle arr“Diamonds are forever!”  Timeless treasure that it is, anyone who has a keen eye for all that sparkles is certain to learn the “4 C’s” – cut, clarity, carat and colour – and quickly, myself included.  Even if you’re already feeling fabulous, wearing blinding pieces of lustrous carbon unquestionably illuminates one’s natural glow.

Like a good friend, ‘Diamant’ always encourages one to shine bright.  It’s no wonder the brilliant appeal of this lump of coal lures one to befriend its companions, ruby and emerald.  Highly captivating, my attraction to the elegance and beauty of these earthly gems has inspired me to excavate my own precious stones.  Upon laborious execution of deshelling and the “4 S’s” – soaking, segmenting, separating and studding – I formerly present the result of my hulled efforts, in a holiday collection:  pomegranate and pistachio ‘mendiant’ (chocolate disc). MendiantIngredients arr

Traditionally, dried fruits and nuts are used to bedazzle this French confection.  Entering the chocolate business – for a day – I, however, chose to pass on the passé.  Getting my hands dirty with more than tempered chocolate, I take chocolate rounds to new heights.  Out with old and wrinkly, the arduous task of mining through pith and peel is worth the sought-after prized reveal – rubies in the rough.  Unlike readily dehydrated specimens, my adaption and use of Persia’s finest – edible red and green cultivations – does require extra heavy lifting.

MendiantCloseup arrBefore you divide and conquer, however, remember:  input is equal to output!  Preparation, then, is the key to achieving success!  My advice, handle pomegranate seeds with care – a “Gusher” fruit burst effect is not the aim.  Though amicable, I also suggest avoiding Lucille-type mis-haps by creating an organized and efficient work station; arrange desired toppings in separate bowls, place a parchment-lined baking sheet aside, and leave melting of premium quality chocolate for last.  All ingredients ready-to-go, spoon tempered chocolate onto parchment, decorate the discs, and leave sufficient time for the ‘rocks’ to set.

Work hard, eat well and be amazed!  Post-cooling, it’s time to reap the fruits of your labour.  One bite, and there’s no comparison – fresh is best!  Though time-consuming, you can’t deny the depth in vibrant taste; sweet, tart and rich flavours are no match to dull and unpolished dried alternatives.  Ultimate reward for the day:  dripping in mineral-rich jewels with the latest hand accessory – adornment via ‘mendiant.’

© DISHFUL, 2013.  All Rights Reserved.