To me, rose-flavoured treats are the most elegant treats around. With their delicate scent, rose petals give a touch of luxury and indulgence to any dish they’re added to. This holds true for drinks, sweet bakes and even breakfast cereals, and it certainly does so in ice cream. So the other day, when I wanted to make ice cream to go with the naturally rosy flavour of quince in my quince tartlets, it didn’t take long to pick the flavour. This resulting rose petal ice cream ticks all the boxes. It’s lush, creamy and subtly flavoured. And though it makes quite a fancy first impression, it is actually quite easy to prepare, using just a few ingredients.
The base for this rose ice cream is coconut milk, which is infused with rose petals and soft-flavoured spices before freezing it. Coconut milk is ideal for making vegan ice cream, resulting in a perfectly smooth and creamy frozen treat every time. In general, it does bring its own coconutty flavour. Delicious as that is, it isn’t necessarily welcome in every dish, which is a reason I don’t use it for every type of ice cream I make. When it comes to this one, though, the combination of flavours works wonderfully. After infusing, the frozen result doesn’t taste like coconut at all anymore; it only tastes sweet and aromatic after the delicious spices used.
To flavour the ice cream, I used a mixture of rose petals, cardamom pods and vanilla. You can use only rose petals, but I find that when used in large amounts, their flavour can become overpowering, evoking thoughts of beauty products rather than edible treats. So this is where the spices come in. With their fresh and complex flavour, cardamoms rank my list of favourite spices ever – which is one reason to include them – and their citrussy notes lift the deep, floral rose flavour. And vanilla and rose, well, they were simply meant to go together. All three combined, they make this pastel pink dessert balanced, indulgent and simply delicious.
You can make this ice cream either with or without an ice cream maker. Serve it on its own, or try it sprinkled with tahini granola with rose petals and pistachios, or scooped on top of a soft-spiced quince tartlet.
Vegan rose petal ice cream with cardamom and vanilla – makes 800 ml, serves 4
- 2 tins of 400 ml full-fat coconut milk each
- 3½ tbsp. dried rose petals*)
- 25 cardamom pods, cracked to open slightly
- 1 vanilla pod, slit lengthwise
- 100 g raw cane sugar
- pinch of salt
If you have it, an ice cream maker. **) You can make the ice cream without one, but it makes life a lot easier. If you intend to use an ice cream maker, make sure the freezing element is completely frozen before you prepare the ice cream base.
Tips before you start:
*) Make sure the dried rose petals are intended for consumption! Whole dried rosebuds can be found at organic healthfood stores, or you can get bags of dried rose petals meant for making tea at Middle-Eastern supermarkets.
**) Most regular ice cream makers (including my own) can process up to 1 litre in one go, so I scaled the ingredients to that. The ingredients are easily doubled, though, and the ice cream in the picture is actually part of a double batch. After infusing the coconut milk, I churned half of it in the ice cream maker and kept half of it in the fridge until the next day. I then churned the second half after cleaning and refreezing the freezing element of the ice cream maker.
***) Depending on the power of your freezer, the time needed to have your ice cream set completely can vary. If you are not using an ice cream maker and want to make sure the ice cream is ready the moment you serve it, you may want to consider making it a day ahead.
Pour the coconut milk into a small pan and add the sugar and salt. Heat the mixture until hot, but not boiling. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the rose petals, cardamom pods and vanilla. Turn off the heat. Leave the coconut milk to cool completely while infusing.
When completely cooled, strain the coconut milk to remove the rose petals and spices.
Pour the coconut milk into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, pour it into a freezer container and freeze for 4-6 hours. After the first hour, take out the container, stir through the mixture and crush any formed ice crystals with a fork or a stick blender. Repeat every hour until the mixture is creamy and set, then let it freeze completely.
Take the ice cream out of the freezer about ten minutes before you want to serve it, to let it soften a bit.