rose petal and saffron ice cream


Nik Sharma

Hey Friends, Iā€™m a multi-award-winning and best-selling cookbook author and photographer.

rose petal and saffron ice cream

Perhaps the hardest challenge of adulthood is attempting something you should have done during your childhood. This is how I feel about camping, I should have tried it as a kid so I could have been acclimated by now. Last weekend, a friend of mine was to cross his thirtieth year and being an avid camper, he asked a bunch of us to spend the weekend camping up in the mountains of West Virginia. I love the outdoors and nature so I was excited about that portion but not so enthusiastic about the parts related to personal hygiene (which I partially blame on getting my undergraduate degree in microbiology, it’s made me a germ-o-phobe!). Consequently, I had my fears and I packed my bags with all sorts of antibacterial agents and bug sprays in my battle kit. When we reached our destination, the campgrounds were beautiful and we were right next to the river, I avoided the bugs and they avoided me, though some of my friends were not so lucky. Our tent was huge, with a little pseudo patio area  in the front and we had enough room to arrange our clothes neatly on one side (OCD craziness). The bathrooms were clean and the only thing I envied and highly missed was my treasured and now highly appreciated and valued daily showers. After “roughing it out” and doing all the crazy insane things that come with camping, I have to admit that my initial fears have been allayed and I can safely say that I would try it again (I’ll still prefer a campsite with heated water amenities and clean bathrooms). But for now, I am going to go and check that important life experience off my list!


Now moving from the mountains of West Virginia and back to the streets of DC! I like to support our growing local  DC food scene which not only has several new eateries and restaurants but also a number of market spots that focus on and promote the use of local seasonal produce and dairy from the neighboring farms. One such place in the D.C. food scene is Union Market. Often on weekends, we drive down  to grab a quick bite at the many different fun food stations/restaurants and will also pick up our groceries. Over time our favorite booth has become the amazing dairy store run by the folks from the Trickling Springs Creamery that’s based in the heart of Amish country around the DC region where they source their milk from local family farms. The first time we walked into their booth, we each got a scoop of their grape nut ice cream that was deliciously soft and creamy! Ever since then I migrated to using their dairy products at home. Their milk is fresh with that mild natural sweetness that made us both avid fans at home, so much so that if I don’t have time to go down to Union Market, I’ll run by our local Whole Foods (who also carry their dairy products) to pick up their milk. Plus they also offer an opportunity to recycle glass bottles which is such a rarity these days! Trickling Springs Creamery uses a special low-temperature small-batch pasteurization process to retain not only the high quality of their milk but also the benefits of the natural proteins and enzymes present in milk. Seriously, if there is anytime the freshness and high quality of milk is necessitated, it is in frozen dessert recipes such as ice creams and kulfis.
rose syrup
I know another frozen dessert recipe back-to-back but I felt compelled to share this recipe with you sooner than later. It’s hot and humid and this ice cream fits in perfectly with the weather. It’s rich and creamy yet soft and delicious with the scent of cardamom and yellow tint of saffron. But it’s the fragrance of the rose petals and the lemon-rose syrup that make it so special and fitting for summer. I’ve used Gulkhand or Indian candied rose-petal preserves several times before to make cookies and cakes. You can find gulkhand and rose syrups at Amazon and in almost any Indian or Middle Eastern store (for the different varieties of rose syrups, I have previously listed the brands  that I’ve used here and they are available from Amazon).

rose petal and saffron ice cream 

yields: 16 medium sized-scoops


1 quart or 4 cups whole milk 
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon saffron
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds, freshly ground
1 tablespoon cornflour
1/4 cup gulkhand (candied rose petals)
4 tablespoons rose water
1 pint heavy cream
2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, strained to remove pulp 
1/4 cup rose syrup

1. In a thick bottomed saucepan, bring 3 cups of the milk and sugar to a boil on medium-high flame. Immediately reduce to a gentle simmer, add the saffron and ground cardamom and continue to cook with constant stirring until the milk reduces to 2 cups. This should take approximately 25-30 minutes. Just be careful to avoid scalding the milk.
2. Whisk the cornflour into the reserved one cup of milk (make sure there are no lumps) and pour it into the hot milk in the saucepan and bring the milk to a boil again. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook with constant stirring for another 10 minutes. At this point the milk should be thick with a custard consistency. 
3. Remove the milk from the burner. Fold in the gulkhand, rose water and heavy cream. Transfer to a glass bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours. 
4. Pour the ice cream liquid into your ice cream maker and proceed as per your manufacturer’s instructions (I used the Cusinart ICE-30BC ice cream maker for 25 minutes). Transfer the ice cream into a clean freezer proof dish and allow it to firm for at least 4-6 hours before serving.
4. Whisk the lemon juice and rose syrup together in a small bowl. Before serving, top each scoop of the ice-cream with the lemon-rose syrup as needed. 

Disclaimer: I did not receive any financial compensation for this product and all opinions stated here are my own.

24 Responses

  1. I love gulkand and this ice cream is bursting with delicious and aromatic flavors šŸ™‚

  2. This is gorgeous, just pinned! I made rose simple syrup a while back, and now I have another delicious use for it, thanks!

  3. What an amazing flavor combo in this ice cream! And how fun that you went camping – I still have never done that and would like to try it sometime soon!

  4. What a dramatic photo of the ice cream: with rose syrup poured over it and rose petals scattered around! Love it!

  5. The grape nut ice cream you mentioned sounds so good and so does the milk you talk about. I am not a big fan of gulkhand but I am so on board with the other flavors. Your camping trip sounded fun. The germ-o-phobe in you should take a back seat so that you make more such trips! šŸ™‚

  6. That looks delicious. I remember fondly my years growing up on the farm for the thick rich cream that came off the top of the milk. Yum! I miss it. I have done a lot of camping and it has its good and bad sides. I am glad you managed to enjoy it.

  7. Thank you for stopping by Shumaila. I am sure you could try it without the gulkhand and do some substituting.

  8. Very unique! I was introduced to rose water when I was reading a food blog two years ago, but never had a chance to try it yet. This ice cream sounds wonderful! I want to have a HUGE scoop!!!!!

  9. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. This ice cream turned out perfectly and I was even able to obtain Gulkand at my local Indian store. All the other ingredients I had on hand. I would highly recommend this recipe for lovers of Rosewater and cardamom.

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