A recipe for Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream) for #FoodieExtravaganza’s Creative Ice Cream Flavors event! This creamy ice cream has a milky flavor with mastic gum and rose water and is covered with crushed pistachios to add a wonderful contrast in texture.
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Time for another Foodie Extravaganza! Foodie Extravaganza is where we celebrate obscure food holidays or cook and bake together with the same ingredient or theme each month. This month – Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is hosting – she invited bloggers to come up with creative ice cream creations.
So during this first full month of summer, it’s all about ice cream. But that can include gelato, semi-freddo, and even popsicles. Go wild! We hope you all enjoy our delicious frozen creations this month and come back to see what we bring for you next month.
Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you’re a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board!
Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream)
I decided to make Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream) for the event. I first came across this recipe at An Edible Mosaic and was completely enamored with both the texture and wonderful refreshing flavors. Check out her post for photos of the Bakdash Ice Cream Parlor in Damascus, Syria that made this dessert famous.
Instead of eggs, the texture in this ice cream is created with a combination of sahlab (or cornstarch) and mastic gum. This helps the ice cream be a little more heat resistant for the high temperatures outside (it will still melt, just takes a little longer).
I originally tried another recipe, but it called for double the amount of mastic gum and tree was the first flavor that came to mind when I tasted the ice cream. I wasn’t sure if it was an acquired taste, but looked around for other recipes. An Edible Mosaic’s uses little less mastic gum and rose water. So if you are not used to it, be careful with how much mastic gum you use. The resulting ice cream (I have also come across articles referring to it as Booza) has a creamy milk flavor with hints of mastic gum and rose water. The pistachios are a must for a bit of texture and additional flavor.
Sahlab (Sahlep) is a ground flour from the tuber of the orchid genus Orchis. It is most often used as an ingredient for the drink with the same name. I was unable to find it (looks like it is currently illegal to export from Turkey), so I used an equal amount of cornstarch and added a small splash of orange blossom water with the rose water after cooking.
Mastic Gum is an aromatic resin (hardened sap) from the Chia tree (Pistacia Lentiscus var. Chia) in Chios, Greece. In addition to its medicinal and cosmetic uses, it is also added to food for the elastic texture it produces. It is especially popular as a chewing gum. You can purchase Mastic Gum in small jars in the form of tear shaped crystals. I used a mortar and pestle to break the crystals into a fine powder, but this can also be done by placing the crystals in a plastic bag and hitting them with a heavy object. Adding a little sugar makes it easier to pound into a powder. Mastic Gum can be found in some International Markets specializing in Greek or Middle Eastern food. I was able to find it on Amazon: Chios Mastiha.
Rose water is created by collecting the liquid from distilled roses. I have been able to locate it in markets (make sure it is culinary rose water) with Middle Eastern and South Asian ingredients and on Amazon (for a higher price): Cortas Rose Water.
Looking for more fun ice cream flavors?
Check out what everyone else made!
- Chocolate Decadence Ice Cream by A Day in the Life on the Farm
- Crushed Pineapple Ice Cream by Food Lust People Love
- Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream) by Tara’s Multicultural Table
- Fruity Fruit Popsicles by The Freshman Cook
- Lemon Basil Ice Cream by Our Good Life
- No-Churn Chopped Macaron Vanilla Bean Ice Cream by Rhubarb and Honey
- No Churn Reese’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Ice Cream by NinjaBaker.com
- Oat and Dulce de Leche Swirl Ice Cream by Passion Kneaded
- Peach Cobbler Ice Cream by Cherishing a Sweet Life
- Root Beer Barrel Ice Cream by Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
- Tahini and Lemon Curd Ice Cream by Sew You Think You Can Cook
- The Bees’ Knees Semifreddo by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream) Recipe
Adapted from An Edible Mosaic
Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Sahlab or Cornstarch if using cornstarch, add a small splash of orange blossom water with the rose water
- 4 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons whole milk divided
- 1/8 teaspoon mastic gum
- 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon rosewater
- Chopped pistachios for topping
- Place the sahlab or cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk in 2 tablespoons milk until smooth.
- Use a mortar and pestle to grind the mastic gum into a fine powder.
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the remaining 4 1/2 cup milk, cream, and the ground mastic gum over medium heat. Stir often and bring to a boil.
- Gradually whisk in granulated sugar. Continue to stir to dissolve sugar and bring to a boil. Pour in the dissolved sahlab or cornstarch and boil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove from heat and whisk in the rose water and orange blossom water if using.
- Refrigerate until chilled, 4 hours to overnight.
- Pour into prepared ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to freezer safe bowl and freeze to desired consistency.
- Serve covered with chopped pistachios.