Saffron & Cardamom Ice Cream

Friday, September 28, 2012

I swear to God...dermatologists have a secret yearning to psychoanalyse their patients. It's the third time this year that instead of prescribing a cream for my suffering face, my newest dermatologist started lecturing me about "taking the right path in life". As if I do this all my skin problems will magically disappear!! Sure, stress is a major acne multiplier but there are other factors like hormones,  digestive health, nutrition - only last week I realised that nightshades (peppers, tomatoes, aubergines) cause my skin to erupt like a volcano. I told her that, I was not able to get her full attention... And then asked me the dreaded question: "but why are you are so young". Like stress is something that old-er people are entitled to and anyway I am not that young. I am 33 years old and I have had skin problems for most of my life. I just hate it when I have to explain and defend myself to strangers especially when it has taken so much time and effort to explain myself to "my people". Anyway I am a good-natured individual and I did not get completely pissed off with her. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and I am going to follow her treatment plan for a couple weeks, always hoping for good results.

What does this have to do with me making Saffron & Cardamom Ice Cream? Nothing. I just wanted to unload - thank you anonymous reader for listening to me - and direct my energy into making something sweet and aromatic to compensate for the sourness I felt after my encounter with the amateur "dermachologist".

I found this recipe in a magazine I bought in Greece during my vacation. It was a special issue devoted to ice cream. mmmm there were more than 30 recipes in there but the one that caught my eye was a simple cream ice cream spiced with cardamom and saffron and pistachios to give a bit more bite. Saffron I know very well. I grew up with its slightly medicinal aroma. It is precious and quite potent. It makes the phrase "a little goes a long way" stand true. As for cardamom, I have to confess that before we moved to Riyadh I had never tried it before, it being too strong for my mother's taste buds so she never used it in her cooking, even though there are countless recipes for traditional Greek dishes, savoury or sweet, that use it to invoke memories from times past and homelands lost. In Saudi, cardamom was everywhere! In coffee, desserts, savoury dishes. If you wanted to get away from it you had to try really hard. But I didn't. I loved the fresh, slightly sweet and earthy aroma. I brought back with me 2 big jars of cardamom pods and I used it all !!!

As for the ice cream...if you like cardamom you are going to be surprised by its taste, delicate, spicy and exotic!!
Saffron & Cardamom Ice Cream
From Mirsini Lambraki - Γλυκά Μυστικά, August 2012
Ready in: 6 hours
Serves 6 
75 ml fresh full fat milk
185 ml concentrated milk
20 gr blanched almonds, chopped
3 gr ground cardamom
500 ml cream (35% fat)
2 saffron stems
20 gr sugar
100 gr pistachios, chopped
Blend the sugar and the saffron together until they become like powder. Put it in a small bowl.
In a large bowl mix the fresh and concentrated milk with the cream and mix them with hand mixer for 5 minutes on high power, until the mixture has acquired a creamy consistency.
Add the ground almonds, cardamom and the powdered sugar. Mix gently with a silicon spatula  with smooth round moves. When all the spices are mixed with the rich cream, empty the contents of the bowl into a big metal bowl and add a few chopped pistachios. Stir for one last time and put in the freezer for 5 - 6 hours.

Tip: Be careful not to use more than 2 saffron stems because the ice cream is going to taste bitter. Put 1 gr of cardamom first and taste and then add more depending on how strong you want it to taste.
I am submitting this recipe to Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream monthly challenge
I am also entering this post into this months Bookmarked Recipes by Ruth from Ruth's Kitchen Experiments and hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.

Love Bakes  Good Cakes


  1. I adore cardamom and pistachios and can imagine they work so well with a touch of saffron. I'm also a big fan of non-custard non-churn recipes when one is looking for something really simple to make but full of flavour.
    Welcome to BSFIC, do hope you will enter again!

    1. Thank you Kavey, for the warm welcome! I liked this recipe very much exactly for the same reasons no custard making and no need to have an ice cream maker! It was really, really tasty!!

  2. It looks wonderful Maria. And yes feel free to vent, it is good for you. It is also good that you know some of your triggers.

    Thanks for entering your ice cream into Bookmarked Recipes. I am writing the roundup just now, but it is taking some time, as I keep getting distracted when I visit each blog :)

  3. What an interesting combination of flavors - saffron in ice-cream! It looks very appetizing on your photos. I saw your photo on September round-up at Tinned Tomatoes.

  4. Your ice-cream looks so good. I adore the colour of saffron and I love the flavour of cardamoms and pistachios. I had no idea though that saffron was used in Greek cooking, though why I should be surprised when it's used so much in Middle Eastern cooking, I don't really know.

  5. I've come from the book marked recipes link and this sounds gorgeous. One question - would concentrated milk be equivalent to evaporated milk in the UK do you think? Thanks for posting this up - I really really want it now!! :-)

    1. Thanks for stopping by! Yes, it is exactly the same just different name :)


Please share with me your thoughts about this post. Thank you for visiting.