Have you ever had Turkish ice cream, dondurma? If you have ever visited my country I bet you have run into an ice cream vendor in a coastal town, especially if you have visited in hot, summer days. Those guys, the vendors I mean, do not give out their ice cream easily. Paying is not enough, you need to work for them. Recently I was talking to a Taiwanese friend of mine and she said the Turkish ice cream seller in Taiwan’s night market uses the same tricks. Ok, if I have lost you already, if you are curious about what those tricks are, what it means to work for your ice cream, I suggest you take a look at these videos.
It is elastic, chewy, yet very hard to melt. Sometimes they demonstrate the hardness by cutting it with ax! And if you ask me, it is the best type of ice cream ever.
The above pic does not really explain this well, I realize but you have to trust me on this!
One of the secret ingredient to Turkish ice cream is sahlep (or sahlab) that is a dried root of some special orchid natively growing in Turkey. It is not a very easy ingredient to come by if you are looking for the pure dried root. But it is very easy to get the sahlep powder, already mixed with starch and possibly sugar in Middle Eastern stores in the States. Following the recipe on the box will get you one of the favorite drinks of winter days.
Another ingredient I really love in ice cream is the mastic gum. If you ask me, masic gum has an amazingly distinguishable and irreplaceable taste. The gum is a resin from a tree that grows in Greek Chios island and the neighboring town of Ã‡eÅŸme in Turkey.
I put together this recipe to replicate the dondurma we tasted in our visit to Turkey last summer, in the city of AyvalÄ±k. I hope you will be able to find some sahlep & mastic gum in your local Middle Eastern store or online stores to try out. Might fall in love with ice cream all over again, be careful ;)
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 30 gr sahlep drink mix (here, it is not the pure sahlep I am talking about, the drink mix)
- 1 gr mastic gum
- 1/2 cup sugar
First put the mastic gum with a tablespoon of sugar in spice grinder or mortar/pestle to grind well. Mix the sahlep mix and milk, stir well while heating. Add the cream, sugar and gum. Stir constantly until bubbly. Transfer into a bowl, let it cool and retire to the fridge until you are ready to freeze it using ice cream machine. You will realize that it is kind of stringy, elastic. This is how it should be. Freeze until desired consistency is achieved and transfer into already cooled freezer safe container.