Gum Mastic, Cardamom, Rosewater, and Pistachio Ice Cream

The recipe that required the most amount of specialised ingredients.

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Gum mastic is used in Eastern Mediterranean cooking. Honestly I have no idea how I even came across it. I opened up my folder of bookmarked ice cream flavours and there it was. My Greek friend got really excited about this, he said that there’s an old wives’ tale about mastica being the cure to everything (cue long-suffering eye-roll from said friend).

And sorry I can’t really describe its taste either. It brings more of an aromatic component to me rather than a taste. Some say that it smells like pine trees, but I’ve never smelt a pine tree before…

And cardamom also smells really good. Like a really classy scented candle. That you want to eat. Basically I kept smelling this ice cream throughout.

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The ice cream is based off an eggless custard – my first recipe without eggs! This meant that I could be less careful about watching the temperature of the custard, since overheating an egg-based custard can result in a bit of a sulfurous smell and taste (ie like eating farts, yummy).

And I thought this ice cream froze pretty well! Didn’t get as icy as some of my previous ice cream attempts.

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Unfortunately you do need an ice cream maker for this recipe, although I’m sure you can use one of the many ways out there to adapt the recipe.

Gum Mastic, Cardamom, Rosewater, and Pistachio Ice Cream

I don’t know why one of the scoops looks more yellow than the other, but it’s okay I accept you for who you are.

I got the recipe from here and used ground cinnamon instead of a cinnamon stick.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon whole green cardamoms
  • 300ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 100ml rose water
  • 1 teaspoon gum mastic crystals, crushed with 1 teaspoon caster sugar
  • 200ml evaporated milk
  • Handful of toasted pistachios to top, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Crush the whole cardamoms in a pestle and mortar (or get your housemate to crush it in a ziploc bag with a rolling pin, because you’re lazy like that). Take out the pods leaving the seeds then pound the seeds to a fine powder.
  2. Place the milk and double cream in a saucepan, and add the ground cardamom and cinnamon. Bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by about a quarter to a rich creamy colour (it takes about half an hour).
  3. Place the sugar and rose water in another saucepan and dissolve the sugar over a low heat until it becomes a thin syrup. Remove from the heat and cool.
  4. When the milk and cream are ready, remove from the heat and stir in the crushed gum mastic. Cool for about 15 minutes.
  5. Sieve the liquid. Add the evaporated milk to the sieved liquid and combine with the rose water syrup. Cool and chill.
  6. Churn in an ice-cream machine until desired consistency.
  7. If you want a scoopable consistency rather than a soft-serve consistency, chill the ice cream down in the freezer overnight.
  8. Top with toasted pistachios.

Notes

  • I’d suggest going light on the gum mastic especially if you’re not used to the flavour because it can be quite strong.
  • To me the pistachio was really crucial in bringing this recipe together. Brought some textural variation, and its nuttiness also complemented the sort of organic(?) taste of the mastic.
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