Archive

Posts Tagged ‘Ramadan cooking’

Pistachio Ice Cream with Rose Water ~ Homemade & Heavenly

June 18th, 2013 4 comments

Arabian Ice Cream ~ Pistachio with Rose Waters

As the heat in Dubai soars, I crave ice cream.

Actually, I crave ice cream in all weather conditions, and as I lover of ice cream, one of my greatest food pleasures is making ice cream at home. In fact, my Cuisinart ice cream maker is my most-loved kitchen appliance.

And after much reflection, I’ve decided that my favorite flavor is Pistachio—greenish and nutty, exotic and subtle, crunchy yet silky. What could be more heavenly?

Pistachio Ice Cream w- Rose Water

According to David Lebovitz, there are two basic styles of ice cream:  (1) French-style, which is custard-based and made with egg yolks—smooth and creamy, but fussy to prepare, and (2) Philadelphia-style, a simple combination of milk, cream, and sugar, but no eggs—easier, but freezes a bit hard.

After going back and forth between those two styles, I’ve recently discovered a third, which is my new preferred way to make ice cream. This style requires no eggs, yet its texture is still creamy and smooth. Jeni Britton Bauer is the creator of this new technique, explained in her book Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home.

Pistachio Ice Cream & Rose Water

Basically her method is this: Add a little cream cheese, cornstarch, and light corn syrup, and you can achieve wonderful creamy ice cream without having to mess around with an egg-yolk custard.

Below is my recipe, using Jeni Britton Bauer’s technique.

Pistachio Ice Cream with Rose WaterPistachio Ice Cream ~ Ingredients

          Makes about 1 quart

1 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped

3 Tablespoons cream cheese, softened

½ teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon cornstarch

2¼ cup whole milk

1 cup (200 ml) cream

2/3 cup sugar

2 Tablespoons light corn syrup

1 Tablespoon rose water

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F / 175°C. Spread HALF of the pistachios on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 4-5 minutes until fragrant, turning once—don’t over-toast or the pistachios will lose their green hue. Remove from oven and pulverize in a blender until pistachios form a coarse paste. Add a few drops of water if necessary. Transfer to medium bowl and whisk with cream cheese and salt until smooth.

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Pistachio Paste

2. In tiny bowl, mix cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons milk until smooth. Set aside.

3. Prepare a large bowl of ice cubes and water to use later for cooling the ice cream base.

4. In a medium saucepan, combine remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup. Bring to rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually mix in the cornstarch/milk mixture. Bring back to boil and cook, stirring constantly until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Making the base

5. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the pistachio paste. Whisk until smooth.

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Mixing the base

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Whisking the milk in

Pour into a clean glass pitcher or large Ziploc bag and submerge (seal Ziplock first) into the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice if necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Cooling the base

6. Transfer ice cream base to refrigerator and chill completely—for about 6 hours or overnight.

7. To freeze the ice cream, be sure to start with the machine’s base that is completely frozen. (Keep in freezer for at least 24 hours.) Turn on the ice cream machine and gradually pour in the ice cream base through the top of the machine. Leave to spin until thick and creamy, about 25 minutes.

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Pour into Machine

8. While the ice cream is freezing, get the following ready: the rose water, the remaining ½ cup pistachio nuts (chopped), and a storage container with airtight lid, which can be pre-chilled in the freezer.

9. Just before the ice cream is ready, add the rose water to the machine.

Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Cuisinart Machine

10. Pack the ice cream into the container, layering it with the pistachio nuts. Seal and freeze in the back of your freezer for at least 4 hours. Pistachio Ice Cream ~ Container

11. Garnish with more pistachios and an extra sprinkle of rose water, if desired. Enjoy.

Pistachio Ice Cream with Rose Water

What is your favorite homemade ice cream or pistachio treat?

My Favorite Ramadan Recipes

July 26th, 2012 8 comments

There are certain recipes I turn to every Ramadan. For example, nearly every iftar during the holy month, we sit down to this easy Lentil Soup. This has been a tradition at our house for several decades. However, I have recently improved this recipe by adjusting the seasonings and the method. Meanwhile, another flavorful soup we eat during Ramadan is Moroccan-style Lentil Soup with Chickpeas, a good soup when I’m looking for something hearty.

As for main courses, a Ramadan favorite at our house is the Palestinian dish Maqluba, which means “upside down” in Arabic. It’s prepared in a layered pot—chicken, rice and cauliflower simmered on the stove and served with yogurt on the side and a simple Arabic salad. We traditionally eat this dish on the first day of Ramadan, as we did this year. I plan to prepare it several more times before the month is over.

For a terrific side dish during Ramadan, I’m preparing Fattoush, a hearty peasant salad from the Levant. It’s super-healthy, as it’s loaded with various greens and veggies and prepared with an olive oil dressing. The salad is topped with toasted Arabic bread pieces, which is what makes it fattoush.

As for sweets, our favorite Ramadan indulgence is ‘Atief. There are endless ways to fill and prepare these little pancakes. My method is to stuff them with walnuts and bake them. This makes for a filling sweet which can be served as dessert or as a suhoor snack. I prepare ‘atar scented syrup to pour over top.

A more traditional dish for suhoor, the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan, is Ful, an Egyptian fava bean breakfast, which is filling and nutritious. Also, at some point I will prepare Hummus, which can be made in advance and served at both iftar and suhoor.

Finally, I’d like to wish you all a blessed Ramadan.

Question: What are your favorite Ramadan foods?

Lentil Soup for the Soul

August 2nd, 2011 19 comments

It’s not Ramadan without lentil soup. When the sun sets and we hear the call to prayer, we break our fast with dates and water and move onto this soup. This is our first course for iftar, the sunset meal to break the fast.

There are as many ways to make this soup as there are Arab families. There are endless variations in seasonings, garnish and proportions. Since we eat this almost every night of Ramadan, my soup is pretty simple.

Easy Lentil Soup

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 or 2 carrots, finely chopped

6 cups water and/or stock

1 cup orange lentils

½ teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon turmeric, for color (optional)

1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

pepper to taste

1 lemon

Garnish: chopped parsley

1. Over medium-low heat, sauté garlic and onions until translucent. Add carrots and continue stirring for a few more minutes.

2. Add liquid and lentils. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature and simmer gently for one hour.

3. Add salt, pepper, cumin, and turmeric, if using. For a smooth soup like in the photo, puree in a blender or food processor or use an emulsion blender. Alternatively, if you like the texture, leave as is.

4. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve with fresh lemon slices.

 Note: This recipe can easily be doubled. It freezes well.

What soup do you eat during Ramadan?