Rose-saffron-pistachio ice cream

In the beginning of Roseheart, Valerie waitresses at the Dinky Kebab (which may or may not be loosely based on the Caspian Bistro in Minneapolis, where the author just happens to have worked.) If you’re not up for making ice cream, go over to the Caspian (or any Persian restaurant with a large menu) and treat yourself.

Note: If possible, buy pistachios that have been shelled and skins removed. If you must remove the skins yourself, blanch shelled pistachios in boiling water for 2 minutes. Immediately plunge into cold water, and pop the skins off with your fingers. Sliver and set on paper towels to dry.

Serves 6
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, ground with a pinch of granulated sugar, or 1/4 tsp. powder
4 tbsp. rosewater
4 c. milk, minus the space taken up by the cornstarch in the first cup
1 c. heavy whipping cream, whipped
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/4 c. slivered pistachios
2 tbsp. slivered pistachios for garnish

Pour rosewater over the ground saffron in a small bowl and set aside. Spoon cornstarch into a 1-cup measuring cup. Drizzle a bit of milk over cornstarch and stir to make a smooth paste. Pour more milk until the cornstarch-milk mixture reaches the 1-cup line. Stir again and set aside.
Pour the other 3 cups of milk and the sugar into a 4-quart pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the cornstarch-milk mixture to the pot. Stir constantly, making sure mixture doesn’t clump or stick to the bottom of the pot. When the mixture thickens (in 10-12 minutes), remove from heat. Stir in saffron-infused rosewater and mix well. Cool the mixture, covered, for at least 2 hours in the refrigerator. Fold whipped cream and pistachios into cooled mixture. Pour into ice cream maker and follow your ice cream maker’s directions.

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