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Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream

Saffron&Cardamom Ice Cream

I am usually pretty excited when Mondays roll around. New week, new things happening, new people to meet and things to discover. It’s never quite the same and I look forward to the things learned and observed. Except this Monday. It has been such a splendid weekend, I hardly want it to end. We did have an Easter egg hunt for the kids next door and an improvised picnic in the yard with the neighbors. It just filled me with joy, hope and laughter. An instant battery charger for the soul.

I am usually in charge of desserts when we get together but this time I only had ice cream ready. Actually, I could have cut tiny pieces of what was left of a chocolate coconut and mango cake I had made but that would have been like giving an elephant a thimble to drink from. (more on the cake this week). Instead, I brought down the container of Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream I was saving for such warm and pleasant days.

Can The Weekend Last All Week?

If I had shown you the inside of the cabinets during Jen’s Kitchen Tour series, it would have confused everybody. I have what B. called "kitchen bougeotte". (To have "la bougeotte" = to be fidgety). With my parents and almost all their sibblings born an raised abroad, there was no standard for cuisine types in the family. Wherever they were they would learn some local dishes and ultimately pass them on to us. Along with all the pots and pans specific to each culture. I realized the tour would quickly require a two-page extension if I included them and I could not subject you and Jen to that. It was long enough already!!

Being here in the States is close to cuisine paradise with some many different nations in one spot, so you can bet my "kitchen bougeotte" is greatly satisfied! I am under heavy French, Asian and Indian flavors. In the pantry, each culture tends to have a specific bin. There is however a couple of spices with their own prime real estate in the pantry. Cardamom and saffron.

I love, love, love cardamom. In baked goods, mousses, cakes, you name it I am there. I use green cardamom for baking while I keep black cardamom for savory dishes. I don’t usually think of saffron when baking but I am pleasantly surprised each time I do. While I don’t pretend to be fluent in Indian cooking, I do enjoy the knowledge and recipes from other bloggers out there. I also have the loveliest of friend who prepared this ice cream the last time I saw her and from the first spoonful, I knew I would have to make it at home….quickly! This ice cream made me week in the knees, literally.

Saffron&Cardamom Ice Cream - All Dressed Up...

No saffron was harmed during the photo shoot…it all went back in its jar. Now everybody can relax."

The flavors of this ice cream are reminiscent of kulfi although the method used here is a bit different than in traditional kulfi recipes. Oh trust me, next on my list is to get me a set of kulfi molds and to try Deeba’s recipe…hmmm… Nothing could be simpler than this refreshing ice cream: cardamom infused cream, pinch of saffron and a handful of pistachios (check your sources given the recent news). Churn and dig…

Cardamom and Saffron Ice Cream Recipe:

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
1 cup (200gr) granulated sugar
4-5 green cardamom pods
pinch of saffron
1/3 cup (40gr) raw pistachios

In a large saucepan, stir together the cream, milk and sugar. On a flat surface, or with a mortar and pestle, gently crush the cardamom pods and add both seeds and pods to the cream mixture. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium low heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let steep as it cools to room temperature. Refrigerate, preferably overnight.
Once infused, strain the mixture and remove the crushed cardamom pods. Add a few threads of saffron and stir.
Coarsely chop the pistachios and add them to the mix.
Process the mixture into your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s intructions.
No ice cream maker? No problem! Pour the cream into a freeze proof container and freeze for a couple of hours. Take it out and whip it with an electric mixer or immersion blender, freeze it again, whip it again….do that four or five times. The mixture won’t be quite the same but pretty darn close.

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Kristin April 13, 2009 um 2:51 pm

I have never heard of this before but it just sounds so warm in flavor and definitely yummmmmm for a hot day! If I make it though while it is still chilly here as the weather makes me wonder if warm will ever come well, it is just going to have to be that way! 🙂

Lucy April 13, 2009 um 3:03 pm

Wow what an interesting and tasty combination! Your weekend sounds perfect 🙂

LizNoVeggieGirl April 13, 2009 um 3:14 pm

LOVE using saffron in dishes – although I never would have thought to put it in a dessert… go figure!! Sounds lovely.

Hope you have a fabulous Monday and rest of the week, dear Helen!!

Hilda April 13, 2009 um 3:14 pm

Ma chere Helene,
have you ever had Persian saffron ice cream? yummy yum. I’ll have to make some on my blog sometime when I have more time and a little one who actually goes to sleep. This is lovely and I’m glad no saffron was harmed during that shoot. =)

Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul April 13, 2009 um 3:34 pm

Beautiful Helen! This flavour combination is truly a "match made in heaven"!

Simones Kitchen April 13, 2009 um 3:38 pm

It looks amazing Helen! I would still have loved to take a peek inside your cabinets though…:) You can do a special cabinet kitchen tour! It sounds like you had a perfect easter weekend.

Karen | Citrus and Candy April 13, 2009 um 3:43 pm

Weird, I just tried this exact flavour at Baskin and Robbins! It was an intriguing combo but no doubt yours would taste better than an icecream franchise!

Bea April 13, 2009 um 3:45 pm

It looks delicious! I love cardamome and saffron (will use the swiss one 😉 ).
Thanks for this great recipe!
And this beautiful pictures!

Char April 13, 2009 um 3:53 pm

yummy…everyone said already…saffron for dessert???? Inspired.

Lisa April 13, 2009 um 3:53 pm

What a lovely flavor combination, Helen! I’ve used cardamom in lots of savory preparations and rice pudding, but never thought of using it in an ice cream, although I’d seen it on many a menu. Yours is stunning and creamylicious to the eye. I only wish I could taste!

Hayley April 13, 2009 um 4:06 pm

Cardamom is such a wonderful spice, and the addition of safron is so creative. Glad to hear you enjoyed your Easter!

anadelicias April 13, 2009 um 4:38 pm

Lovely and delicious, Helen!!

Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen April 13, 2009 um 4:47 pm

What a great photo of the ice cream. I don’t think I’ve ever had cardamom and saffron ice cream but I’m sure I could eat every bite.

Manggy April 13, 2009 um 4:49 pm

Ooh, and I have those spices sitting here! Looks refreshing (ahem, it’s 29C here now– higher in the morning) and delicious! I’m glad you kept the saffron when you were done with the shoot. Almost had a heart attack, lol 🙂

Ramya Kiran April 13, 2009 um 5:26 pm

That looks cool and i loved the combination of saffron, cardamom and pistachios. Great job!

Engineer Baker April 13, 2009 um 5:50 pm

My stomach dropped when I saw saffron just casually scattered around – good thing you reassured us it was all returned 🙂 I never think to use saffron in sweet things, but I’ve begun a love affair with green cardamom – so wonderful!

Rosa's Yummy Yums April 13, 2009 um 5:59 pm

A stunning combo! this ice cream looks mighty scrumptious!

What a beautiful house…



cindy* April 13, 2009 um 6:03 pm

great post helen, and the ice cream sounds like the perfect accompaniment to such a lovely weekend! and i loved your kitchen tour over at jen’s, that series was just fantastic!

Helene April 13, 2009 um 6:13 pm

I am neither made or money nor cavalier with delicate ingredients, so trust me, every thread of saffron was accounted for 🙂

shellie April 13, 2009 um 6:37 pm

Do you have another email.I tried contacting you and the email was returned.

Esra April 13, 2009 um 8:04 pm

Oh, this looks mouthwatering..great combination of flavors 🙂

Mumsy April 13, 2009 um 8:11 pm

I never would have thought to add saffron! We make cardamom ginger ice cream a lot. (Cardamom is my favorite spice…mmm.) My husband was talking about my last batch and asked me to make it again soon. I’m adding saffron. Brilliant.

Patricia Scarpin April 13, 2009 um 8:19 pm

You know I have been on an ice cream kick lately and, coincidently, I have both saffron and cardamom in my pantry… 😉

Helene April 13, 2009 um 8:30 pm

Soulflower: the comcast address is the right one.

Jen Yu April 13, 2009 um 9:17 pm

Well *I* think you should go dancing around the kitchen sprinkling saffron about as if it were rice at a wedding 😉 ha ha ha! It’s okay, we’ll find something expensive and ridiculous to waste when you come visit me – right? And we’ll take pictures and shock the hell out of your readers. ha ha ha… gah. I think you are brilliant. I love the combination. I don’t have the guts to experiment as I’m pretty sure it would be a big FAIL. You rock it every time, hon.

anna April 13, 2009 um 10:07 pm

That sounds so good! It’s not quite ice cream weather here but I wish it were. I really want to make more ice cream!

The Clever Pup April 13, 2009 um 10:13 pm

This sounds absolutely wonderful and the fact that I don’t need an ice cream maker makes it perfect. I love this combination of flavours.

kellypea April 13, 2009 um 10:32 pm

I am a lover of cardamom, too, and have been straying off the beaten path with ice cream flavors in my tastes. This one sounds perfect since I can’t get past your description of it making you "weak in the knees!"

Bron April 13, 2009 um 11:42 pm

Mmm I love saffron and cardamom in desserts as well, super post and what a laugh reassuring us that every thread of saffron made it back safely into the jar…hehe

Jo April 14, 2009 um 12:23 am

What exotic flavours. It certainly reminds me of a Turkish dessert. Love the pictures and the vibrant colours.

Aparna Balasubramanian April 14, 2009 um 12:47 am

Looks delicious and reminds me so much of kulfi. And with hot summer days back again here in India, it’s stuff like that will keep us going till the rains arrive.:)

Jackie April 14, 2009 um 1:09 am

It sounds absolutely divine. I’ve made saffron lemonade with cardamom pods in the past but never in the form of ice cream. I’ll definitely give it a try. Oh and I love your little note at the end about saffron. You’re right, it is SO expensive, better get every single saffron thread back in the jar hehe

Joyce April 14, 2009 um 2:48 am

Hi Helen,

I have been craving ice cream lately maybe because the sun has been coming out on some days. This recipe sounds interesting with saffron. I will give this a try. xoxo

Chelsea April 14, 2009 um 3:27 am

Ice cream is my absolute favorite! I love the photo of the ice cream in the little pail. I’ve made saffron honey ice cream, and cardamom with candied kumquat but never the combination of saffron and cardamom. It sounds, and looks fantastic!

Vanille April 14, 2009 um 4:03 am

Il n’est pas recommandé de lécher l’écran d’ordinateur, n’est-ce pas ? Une exception, toutefois…
Les parfums de cette glace sont si alléchants !

lubnakarim06 April 14, 2009 um 4:47 am

Wow i can feel the taste of cardamom in milk. I too bookmarked this recipe from Deeba’s place….Sun is striking hard to tempt me to make this….Looks droolworthy…Yummy….

Mercotte April 14, 2009 um 5:07 am

Comme toujours c’est un pur plaisir de passer chez toi !! l’atmosphère, le cadre, le photos, les recettes bref on ne s’en lasse pas !! bravo !

Recipe man April 14, 2009 um 6:08 am

I had saffron ice cream years ago in india. this is so good. i longed for it. im sure to make this now

Dominique April 14, 2009 um 6:37 am

Je n’ai jamais pensé associer cardamome et safran dans une glace! ce sera chose faite grâce à toi, j’essaie dès le week-end prochain! quelle bonne idée…

Y April 14, 2009 um 7:04 am

Sigh. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d love to be your neighbour! The ice cream sounds and looks delicious. I love saffron too, even if it rarely features in the things I bake. Time to rectify that soon, I’m sure!

Paula Maack April 14, 2009 um 7:23 am

Oh, Helen! This rocks my socks off!!

I am so excited about your recipe. It looks perfect. And, your photos are absolutely delicious!

I have had this combination of flavors at Persian restaurants, but with rose water added. I am especially eager to try your version, as I have a feeling I will prefer it. While I enjoy all of the ingredients individually, I felt the combination of rose water and saffron to be somewhat disharmonious – elementally. Or, at least in the versions I sampled.

Your work is spot on, as always, Helen. It is always such a delight to visit your exquisite blog.


~ Paula

Mélanie April 14, 2009 um 8:37 am

I got an ice cream maker this week-end, and i was just looking for the first recipe to try… Elle tombe à point!
Thanks a lot.

Cannelle Et Vanille April 14, 2009 um 11:18 am

So fragrant and the whole mood of the photos is so relaxing. Stunning!

Helene April 14, 2009 um 1:05 pm

Kitchen Flavours: this is my friend Bina’s modified recipe. Deeba’s is for the traditional kulfi recipe which I plan to make later. Just wanted to add that in case there was any confusion if you made it.

veron April 14, 2009 um 4:23 pm

I can’t wait to make this. Saffron is my favorite spice and it appears to pair well with cardamom based on a panna cotta I made some time ago.
Love the pictures!

unconfidentialcook April 14, 2009 um 5:02 pm

I’ve never considered using saffron in a dessert…but this sounds wonderful and a great creative combo.

Deeba PAB April 14, 2009 um 5:08 pm

Almost fell off my chair Helen…thanks for the mention. Gosh, your ice-cream & settings look beautiful. My son would have been on his knees gathering those scattered bits of saffron. He's recently learnt in school that saffron is the worlds most expensive spice, & thinks his mother is VERY RICH coz she uses it! I hope the bubble doesn't burst! HAPPY SPRING!!

pastry studio April 14, 2009 um 5:39 pm

I’m dying to taste this! I just made a saffron ice cream, but it must be so much more complex and interesting with cardamom. Like you, I love the taste and aroma of it. Thank you!

La Cuisine d'Helene April 14, 2009 um 5:48 pm

Wow, you know how to make me feel good to start the day. I just have to come here and look at your beautiful pictures.

Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks) April 14, 2009 um 6:14 pm

Lovely! Reminds me of a flavor at Mashti Malones Persian ice cream shop in LA.

Dewi April 14, 2009 um 6:46 pm

I like your kitchen tour, and the spices clinging to the fridge. What a beautiful kitchen you have.

Cardamom ice cream sounds so delicious. Can’t wait to make this in summer. As all of your photographs, everything here look beautiful as well.

Juliana April 14, 2009 um 8:19 pm

Never heard of a such kind of ice cream…I am sure that has a very interesting flavor. Great picture!

Andrea [bella eats] April 15, 2009 um 12:26 am

Helen – This recipe sounds divine! I haven’t tried my hand at homemade ice cream yet but it is high on the list for this spring.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting, I’m beyond flattered. And I hope you do make it to LostRiverModern…it is a lovely "break and breathe" spotl

Ash April 15, 2009 um 1:30 am

What a great weekend! I love cardamom!
Those little white pales are the cutest!!!

Celeste April 15, 2009 um 2:23 am

Oooo…two of my favorite flavors…this combo sounds very interesting and delicious!

Nikkita April 15, 2009 um 2:34 am

Truly inspiring, Helen 🙂

Helene April 15, 2009 um 4:00 am

Ash: the white pail is actually a mini tin bucket that I spray painted and lined with parchment paper before putting the ice cream in.

Anonymous April 15, 2009 um 5:41 am

Outstanding! The pictures, the flavors…amazing!
The center picture is like right out of a magazine article!
This is perfect ice cream anytime of the year. Thank you.


gıda güncesi April 15, 2009 um 6:53 am

very beautiful

Julia @ Mélanger April 15, 2009 um 10:26 am

Looks delicious. I am a big fan of cardamom, too. I love the flavour of this fragrant spice in Scandinavian baking. I made some chocolate and cardamom hot cross buns for Easter. The combination was lovely. I am about to make some other Scandinavian bread this month now I have the taste back. 🙂 You should try. My favourite is a Finnish bread called Pulla. Give it a go! If you like cardamom, you won’t be disappointed. (P.S. Had the same trouble as 'Soulflower' re: your comcast email address….)

mycookinghut April 15, 2009 um 12:07 pm

Looks absolutely delicious!!

Helene April 15, 2009 um 1:12 pm

Julia: if you do a search you will see that I have already posted a couple of Swedish inspired breads using cardamom.

Thank you everyone!

Karynefoodaddict April 15, 2009 um 2:07 pm

wow! ça donne envie! ça me rappelle le riz au lait à la cardamome servi dans une restaurant afghan à Rouen!!! Un vrai bonheur!

Miss Kate April 15, 2009 um 3:03 pm

At first glance, I read your title as "cardamom and salmon ice cream." Yikes!

I kept reading, though, and things got better. What a great flavor combination!

Parita April 15, 2009 um 4:28 pm

Wow I love the combination, looks absolutely delicious and creamy…:)

Marc @ NoRecipes April 16, 2009 um 12:04 am

Mmm love the combo. I’m a big fan of cardamom in desserts (and savoury dishes for that matter), and have used saffron in cakes before so I can almost picture the two together. Will have to try this soon.

Meeta K. Wolff April 16, 2009 um 8:14 am

Saffron and ice-cream make the most incredible dessert. I have always loved kulfi and remember the hot summers on our vacations in India when my grandmother would make all types of kulfi flavors.

You do not need kulfi moulds – i use Popsicle molds or plastic glasses – works perfectly.

Helene April 16, 2009 um 6:08 pm

Meeta: I know I don’t *need* kulfi molds but I also always on the look out for new molds and props 🙂

Mermaid Sews April 17, 2009 um 3:38 pm

How unusual but delicious sounding. Love the comment about the saffron not being harmed, ha!

laura April 17, 2009 um 7:00 pm

Cardamon and saffron!? What a fantastic combination. This recipe is reason enough to finally splurge on that ice cream maker!

Elyse April 18, 2009 um 4:23 pm

This ice cream sounds fabulous. Rich, creamy, flavorful. What more could you ask for? Glad no saffron had to be hurt in the photography of this ice cream 🙂

Sunshinemom April 23, 2009 um 11:23 am

I remember how we used to freak out over these when we were kids and the kulfi vendor used to pass by on his cycle! They are so heavenly! Your pictures say it all:)

Indirect Heat May 17, 2009 um 3:15 pm

This looks crazy good. I’m going to try to make it today. Yum!

Caboche August 10, 2010 um 2:42 pm

I tried your recipe. Ice cream can't be better than this!!!


Published your recipe (translated in French) and a picure taken by me on my blog, with a link to your blog and this recipe (and a mention stating that it is your recipe).

If there is a problem with that, I will delete it without problem. I saw your copyright note after the publication, but don't know if translations containing some adjustments, are permitted.

Love your blog!

Helene August 10, 2010 um 4:19 pm

Caboche: thanks! Copyrights apply to pictures, not recipes.

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