Persian Pistachio Ice Cream – Low Sugar Version

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  • 8Servings
  • 2::0 hPrep Time
  • 0 mCook Time
  • 2::0 hReady In
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Wrapping up my series on Persian food for Type 2 diabetics, will be a recipe for Persian ice cream. Persian Pistachio Ice Cream – or Bastani as it is called in Farsi – is always the same combination of flavors. Vanilla ice cream, pistachios, rosewater flavoring, a subtle hint of saffron, and then bits of frozen cream folded in, give this ice cream layers of delicate flavor with the perfect amount of texture.

In Persian cuisine, this ice cream, or bastani, would be served with crispy waffle-type cookies, either in a bowl with the waffle cookies tucked in on the side, or my kids’ favorite way – as part of an ice cream sandwich made with two flat waffle cookies and a scoop of bastani pressed between them for eating out of hand.

Bastani is easy to make with store-bought vanilla ice cream, and the “no sugar added” version I like the best is the Blue Bunny Sweet Freedom brand. To me, it has the richness and deep vanilla flavor that works well in many dishes, AND it only has 5g sugar per 1/2-cup serving.

About rosewater flavoring

This is a traditional flavoring for many desserts from the Middle East. It really is made from the petals of roses, and adds a delicate floral flavor and fragrance to dishes. Rosewater can be overpowering if you are not used to it, and I only use two teaspoons in this recipe so it is not overwhelming the flavor of the other ingredients. There is a link to an online source for rosewater listed in the ingredients below.


Step by step method

  • Set the ice cream out at room temperature to soften.

  • Spray a pie tin or similar thin metal pan lightly with release spray. Pour the heavy cream into the pan and place in the freezer to freeze solid (about 30 min.)

  • Combine the saffron threads and granulated sugar in a small plastic cup, and using the back of a spoon, scrub or grind the sugar and saffron together to pulverize the saffron pieces as much as possible. Then add the hot water to the saffron, stir, and let sit for 20 min.

  • Shell the pistachios, then place on a cutting board and roll/rub briskly under your palms to remove the brown inner layer. These will mostly flake off on the cutting board.

  • Then remove the pistachios to the side (on a paper towel is fine).

  • Take the cutting board to the trashcan, and brush off the brown flaky layer pieces into the trash.

  • Now put the pistachios back on the clean cutting board and chop them.

  • Scoop the softened ice cream into a large mixing bowl. Add the rosewater flavoring, the saffron water, and the pistachios, and combine well.

  • This final step must be worked through quickly, so have a large knife and cutting board at hand. Remove the pie tin of frozen cream from the freezer and release the frozen cream onto the cutting board. Quickly chop the frozen cream into small chunks by chopping first horizontally across the piece, then turning the cutting board and chopping across again at a 90° angle, as seen in the pictures below. Then add the cream chunks to the ice cream and fold in.

Chef Info



I have always loved to cook, and the challenges of diabetes have not changed that. Healthy food can be beautiful, nutritious, and delicious, and doesn’t have to break the budget.

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