Saffron is widely used in Spanish food, paella for one and pistachio is a very popular helado (Spanish for Icecream) flavour. The two combinations work well together.
Initially I was going to make this ice cream but in researching I found a recipe using hung yoghurt. I had never heard of this before, sounded like a bit of hard work as well. You need muslin cloth and to strain yoghurt over night to loose any excess liquid and retain the yoghurt thats left for the recipe.
Its apparently a good susitutute for dishes with goats cheese. I thought I'd try it with goats cheese but it was hard to find and its quite expensive considering the amount I'd need. Wouldn't you know it, I was in the mediterranean supermarket on the high street and they had strained (or hung) yoghurt in a plastic container already done for me. Perfect.
My recipe was slightly too large for the ice cream machine when I made it, it over flowed a little and I siphoned of a little in to a seperate container in the freezer. (A little went in my belly too..)
If you have an ice cream machine you should put the freezer box in the freezer the night before, or longer if possible so its covered in iceicles and sets the ice cream properly when in the machine. Mine was in there around 12 hours but I don't think even that was long enough to set the icecream outside of the freezer. As it mixes it starts to set and then melt again. Pop it in the freezer for a bit if you need to.
Heres the recipe I made and some tips for this frozen yoghurt filled with flavour and texture.
625 grams of strained yoghurt
3 cups double cream
3 cup of icing (powdered) sugar
Generous pinch of saffron
1/2 cup pistachios - unsalted or washed.
Dash of rose water essence (optional)
First take 1/2 cup of the cream and add the saffron, either pop in the microwave for 30 secs or if like me you don't have one on the stove top for about 3-5 minutes. It shouldn't boil, just heat through a little.
Then leave to cool and for the saffron to infuse. I left mine over night in the fridge.
Beat the strained yoghurt - now strained yoghurt pretty much had the consistancy I needed, like nearly whipped cream, it held soft peaks. I don't know if this is the same with hung yoghurt made yourself, so you might need to beat that a bit longer. Add the remainder of the cream as well as the saffron cream. Mix together.
Add the icing sugar now and taste. Make sure its delicious before you pop it in to the freezer box. Go with your gut and add what you think it needs. Rose water is a nice addition as well - we often do saffron yoghurt with rosewater and pistachio at our brunch club. I added a teaspoon of rosewater essence, its very strong, you need to be careful. But I didn't really taste it. Might want to add another tsp for this amount of ice cream. Again, do it carefully and taste as you go.
Leave the pistachios - you'll add them later after all the mixing has happened.
Pour the yoghurt and cream mix in to the freezer box and either pop in the freezer or in to the ice cream machine. The main thing you need to do with ice cream is stop ice crystals forming as it sets, constant mixing stops this. Takes around 4 hours of mixing, either by the machine or by hand. If you need to do this by hand, you'll need to take it out of the freezer and beat it well every hour to stop those crystals forming.
Once this process is over you should have successfully warded off the ice crystals and you can add the pistachios (shelled, washed, chopped roughly), mix through then put the box back in the freezer for another 4 hours.
I find conventional freezers are too cold and do tend to make the ice cream/ frozen yoghurt too hard when it comes to serving. Those boxes don't thaw out quickly either so do keep an eye on this. This whole procress took me all day (I'd done the saffron cream the night before)
The end product was really YUMMY!
I do want to try again and keep a really close eye on how frozen it gets, I would have liked it smoother. It tasted so nice I was eatting it during each stage of the process.
This amount will feed 12-15 people so you could easily halve it. Maybe do it in two batches if you have time.