In the spirit of July being Ice Cream Month, we are celebrating aside from the traditional American flavors to indulge in the vastly different ways in which the world enjoys this frozen summer treat.
We found three takes on ice cream from around the world to sprinkle in some international flavor this month. Read on to discover how various cultures incorporate exotic flavors to make us all scream for ice cream.
On a warm summer day in Iran, nothing is more refreshing than this Persian frozen dessert. Faloodeh (or Paloodeh) is one of the earliest known frozen desserts, dating back to approximately 400 B.C. in ancient Persia. Variations of the dessert are commonly associated with the city of Shiraz, while other versions exist across the Middle East, India and Pakistan.
This treat is a blend of fragrant rose water frozen with the added texture of thin vermicelli noodles, often served with lime juice and sometimes ground pistachios to balance the floral flavors. Faloodeh is often sold in ice cream shops and coffee shops in Iran, especially to cool down in the summer heat while enjoying a sensory eating experience.
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon rose water
1 ounce vermicelli
Fresh lime juice or lime wedges
Optional garnishes: sour cherries, sour cherry syrup, berries (mulberries, blackberries or raspberries), pistachios or mint
- Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in rose water. Let syrup cool completely.
- Place noodles in a heatproof bowl. Add enough boiling water to cover and let stand for five minutes or until soft. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut or tear noodles into two-inch pieces.
- Combine noodles and syrup in a shallow glass or metal baking dish. Place in freezer.
- After one hour, remove from freezer and stir with a fork. Return to freezer for another hour, rake with a fork and then put back in freezer until desired consistency is reached, about one to three more hours.
To serve, rake with a fork, scoop into bowls and serve with fresh lime juice or lime wedges. It’s also delicious when topped with sour cherries or sour cherry syrup, fresh berries, pistachios or mint!
With a dense texture more common to custard rather than ice cream, this popular Indian frozen dessert is a mix of the delicate, spicy flavor of cardamom blended with condensed milk and sugar. The thick and creamy mixture is poured into traditional kulfi molds, disposable 5 ½ ounce soufflé cups or popsicle molds and served frozen with chopped or ground pistachios.
This cool treat was traditionally only found in India’s street markets kept frozen in earthenware pots of ice and salt. However, Kulfi is relatively simple to make, and this green-tinted version is one of the most popular variations.
SERVINGS: 4 to 6
1/3 gallon whole milk
1/4 cup sugar, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds
1/4 cup ground pistachios
1 to 2 drops green food coloring, optional
1/4 cup blanched pistachios, coarsely chopped
- To make the pudding: Place the milk in a large, heavy wok or skillet and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue to boil, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring and scraping the bottom and sides of the wok often, until the milk is reduced by at least 3/4, about 45 minutes. You should be left with about 2 cups of condensed milk. (It should have a few lumps.)
- Mix in the sugar, cardamom seeds, ground pistachios and food coloring, if using, and cook, stirring, until the sugar melts and thins down the pudding, and then the pudding thickens again, 5 to 7 minutes.
- Transfer to traditional kulfi molds or disposable 5 1/2-ounce plastic souffle cups. Cover and place in the freezer until completely frozen, at least 4 hours.
To serve, dip each mold in hot water about ten seconds, run a knife around the inside of the mold and transfer immediately to a dessert plate. It can be served whole or cut into smaller pieces, garnished with chopped pistachios for an extra crunch.
Israel: Halva Ice Cream
Israel’s melting pot of cultures carries over into ice cream, inspiring sweet, diverse flavors derived from popular ingredients. Halva, a sweet paste made from crushed sesame seeds and sweetened with honey and sugar, is common to many Israeli dishes. Halva is often sold in blocks and decorated with nuts, and the way the caramel-like grains melt on the tongue works brilliantly in ice cream.
On a hot day in Tel Aviv, cooling off with Halva ice cream is a delightful pastime. After being prepared in an ice cream machine, this luxurious, creamy treat can be served with any type of nut, honey, syrup or even chocolate, depending on your tastes.
2 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
3 cups half and half
1/3 cup crumbled halvah (vanilla or plain, not chocolate)
1/8 cup chopped roasted unsalted pistachios (shelled)
1/8 cup roasted unsalted almonds (slivered or chopped)
1/8 cup chopped roasted unsalted cashews
- In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar together until light in color and slightly thickened.
- Add half and half, whisking constantly, and transfer mixture into a heavy-bottomed pot.
- Stir in halvah and cook over a low flame stirring frequently, until base coats the back of a spoon but a finger swipe leaves a clean line.
- Chill ice cream base in the fridge overnight.
- Churn ice cream base in ice cream machine, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
When finished, empty into a mixing bowl, then quickly stir in pistachios, almonds and cashews. Put the whole bowl in the freezer, and when it is frozen enough for you, dig in!
Faloodeh via TheKitchn.com
Kulfi via The Food Network
Halva Ice Cream via SeriousEats.com