Saffron Rosewater Ice Cream

by Jul 16, 2017

A small scoop of saffron ice cream concludes dinner on a sweet note without being a sugar bomb. I do hope you’ll try it! Thank you to Food & Wine magazine for the original, March 2017.


There are 5 steps to making great homemade ice cream:

  1.  Infuse the cream
  2.  Whisk and warm the egg yolks
  3.  Add the sugar to the cream, boil again, and pour into the yolks—this step heats the yolks over 160°F which kills any bacteria that may cause you concern
  4. Chill the custard sufficiently, ideally overnight
  5.  Into the ice cream maker

You can make a wide variety of flavors with this base recipe. Simply bring the cream to a boil, remove from heat, and steep the saffron (or mint, or tea, you name it) for about 30 minutes. (Earl Grey tea is one of my favorites for ice cream and crème brûlées.)

Saffron Rosewater Ice Cream


  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron crumbled
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons rosewater


  1. Pour cream and milk into saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the salt and saffron, bring to boil, remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a 4-cup glass measuring cup, wipe out the saucepan with a paper towel, and return the infused cream to the saucepan.

  2. Put the egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl set over another bowl filled half way with hot tap water. Whisk the yolks until they are lukewarm, 90–100 degrees, this will just take a minute or two, then remove the bowl from the water.

  3. Add the sugar to the cream and bring back to a boil. Remove saucepan from heat and immediately pour a gradual stream into the egg yolks, whisking constantly for a minute. This will cook the egg yolks, an instant-read thermometer will register 170–180 degrees. Whisk for another minute to slightly cool the mixture and pour through a fine sieve into a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Stir in the rosewater. Refrigerate overnight for best results.

  4. Process in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers instructions. Enjoy soft serve or transfer into a container and freeze until firm.

Recipe Notes / Tips

  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron is quite potent, 1/4 teaspoon makes a nice flavor too, your ice cream just won't be as intensely colored
  • Substitute half-and-half for the milk and cream for an ice cream that tastes lighter (the fat content will be around 12%, higher than traditional gelato, but less than ice cream made with heavy cream)
  • For best flavor, avoid dairy that is "ultra pasteurized"
  • I use a simple Cuisinart ice cream maker with the freezer bowl
  • Rosewater:  Cortas brand, check Amazon
  • Check out the Tovolo oblong ice cream storage containers--the right shape for easy scooping


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