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Homemade Stretchy Ashta and Pistachio Ice Cream: A No-Churn Wonder

Crafting the Stretchy Delight of the Middle East, No Special Equipment Needed
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Homemade Stretchy Ashta and Pistachio Ice Cream: A No-Churn Wonder

Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 10 min Rest Time 8 hour Total Time 8 hrs 20 mins
Servings: 8
Best Season: Summer


You're going to love this homemade version of the iconic Ashta and Pistachio Ice Cream! Renowned for its unique stretchy quality and rich flavours, this ice cream stands out in the world of desserts. Unlike traditional Western ice cream, which relies on churning for its texture, Arabic ice cream gets its distinctive stretch from salep and its thickness from a meticulous combination of milk, cream, mastic gum, and sugar. Today, I'm thrilled to guide you through a simplified process of making this creamy, elastic marvel in your own kitchen, no pounding or churning required.

Why It's Special:

Arabic ice cream, particularly our Ashta and Pistachio variety, is celebrated for its unparalleled texture and depth of flavor. The secret lies in its key ingredients:

  • Salep (Sahleb): This magical powder, derived from the tubers of specific orchids, not only thickens the ice cream but also imparts a stretchiness that's hard to find in any other dessert.
  • Mastic Gum: Adding to the uniqueness, mastic gum provides a slightly chewy texture and a distinctive flavour that complements the creamy base.
  • Milk & Cream: These form the rich, creamy foundation that carries the exotic flavours of salep and mastic gum beautifully.
  • Sugar: Balances the flavours and adds sweetness to the mix, enhancing the overall taste.

Crafting this delicacy at home bypasses the traditional, labor-intensive methods of pounding and stretching in a freezer drum. Instead, I'll show you a straightforward approach that achieves the same creamy and dense texture with far less effort.



  1. Preparation:

    Begin by toasting your pistachios until they're fragrant. Set them aside to cool, then chop them coarsely.

  2. Mixing the Base:

    Begin by finely grinding your mastica with a small amount of sugar to aid in its dissolution. If you're incorporating a stabiliser into your recipe, it's a good idea to mix it with the sugar at this stage as well. This ensures that both the mastica and the stabiliser are evenly distributed throughout the mixture, preventing any potential clumping and promoting a smooth texture in the final product.In a large pot, combine milk, cream, and the rest of sugar.

    Heat this mixture on medium heat until the sugar dissolves completely, stirring occasionally.Once the sugar is dissolved, sprinkle the ground mastic gum and the stabiliser into the mixture. Then, gradually add the salep powder, whisking continuously to prevent any lumps from forming.

  3. Thickening:

    Keep the mixture on medium heat, stirring constantly until it starts to thicken. This process might take a bit longer than traditional ice cream bases because of the unique properties of salep and mastic gum. After the mixture has thickened to a creamy consistency, remove it from the heat. Strain your mixture into a bowl, this will ensure a smooth mixture. Allow it to cool to room temperature, cover with cling wrap  then chill in the refrigerator for about 1-2 hours. 

  4. Prepare for Freezing:

    Line a tray with cling wrap, transfer the cooled ice cream mixture onto it, and spread it out evenly. Optionally, sprinkle some of the toasted pistachios over the mixture. Cover the tray with another layer of cling wrap and freeze for at least 6 hours to solidify.

  5. Form the Ice Cream:

    After freezing, remove the ice cream, discard the top layer of plastic wrap, and gently roll the ice cream into a cylinder shape.

  6. Add Pistachios:

    Coat the rolled ice cream cylinder with chopped pistachios, re-wrap it in plastic wrap, and return it to the freezer until you're ready to serve.

  7. Serving Suggestion:

    For an extraordinary presentation, serve the ice cream on a bed of crispy kataifi, topped with Persian vanilla fairy floss. This combination is highly recommended for a full flavour experience.


Keywords: Homemade Arabic Ice Cream, Salep Ice Cream Recipe,No Churn Pistachio Ice Cream, Booza

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Amani khazaal

Chef & Content Creator
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