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Éma’a (Syrian Ice Cream)

A recipe for Éma'a (Syrian Ice Cream) for #FoodieExtravaganza's Creative Ice Cream Flavors event! This milky ice cream is flavored with mastic gum and rose water and covered with crushed pistachios to add a wonderful contrast in texture.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Syrian
Keyword dessert, ice cream, pistachio, Syria, Syrian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time: 4 hours
Servings 5 Cups


  • 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.