Persian-style Pistachio Ice Cream (Bastani Sonnati)

Bastani Sonnati is a Persian ice cream flavored with vanilla, rose water, saffron and pistachios.

Bastani is traditionally served between two wafer-like cookies (like an ice cream sandwich). Store-bought stroopwaffels could work well if you want to approximate this Persian dessert.


3 Cups Milk
1 Cup Sugar
1 large pinch Saffron
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Zest of a Pink Grapefruit (or similar amount of Lemon Zest)
3 Tbsp Rose Water
6 Egg Yolks, lightly beaten
2 Cups Clotted Cream*
1 Cup Pistachios, roughly chopped


Warm the milk in a medium saucepan on medium heat. Continue to stir as you raise the temperature to just below a simmer. Use your thumb and index finger to crumble the saffron into the warm milk, along with the vanilla extract and citrus zest.

Continue to stir as you add the sugar into the milk mixture, being careful to dissolve the sugar and not scald the milk. Add the rose water, keep mixing and bring the temperature to low.

Quickly whisk the six egg yolks into the hot milk mixture. Take care that the eggs are whisked in quickly, so that the egg is fully incorporated into the milk and does not start to cook separately from the rest of the batter.

Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool 10 – 15 minutes on the stove, then transfer to refrigerator for an hour. After an hour, add the clotted cream to the cooled custard mixture, then fold in the pistachio nuts.

Transfer the ice cream to your preferred storage container, and chill, uncovered, in the freezer for a half hour.

After 30 minutes in the freezer, take container out of the freezer, and stir the ice cream well (among other things, this will help keep the pistachios from all sinking to the bottom of the container). Cover the ice cream container, then in turn, seal the closed container in a plastic bag. Allow ice cream to freeze for at least 4 hours (preferably longer) before serving.

*Clotted cream seems like an “exotic” ingredient, but should be available at your local natural foods store / Whole Foods Market.