Kaimaki ice cream is one of the most aromatic and uniquely-flavored ice creams. And that's because it's flavored with a spice called Salep, Mastiha, as well as Rosewater. So its flavor has a hint of spiciness and its aroma will have you traveling to the middle-East!
So what is Salep?
Salep which comes also under the name of Sahlep, or Sahlab is flour from the tubers of an orchid plant. This spice has been used since ancient times not only because it yields a flavorful warming drink, but also for its medicinal properties.
Turkish people have it as a traditional drink made with milk and served with cinnamon. As you can see here. It is very comforting and good for the digestive system.
That's because it contains a starchy polysaccharide called glucomannan. When Salep gets mixed with water and boils it thickens a lot. And becomes very gelatinous. This is what gives Kaimaki ice cream a hint of stretchy texture (compared to plain ice cream).
Just make sure you buy the pure Salep powder and not the drink powder.
The Mastiha And Rosewater
These two flavorings are also used a lot in Middle Eastern cuisine. They give a very refreshing and appetizing flavor to sweets. In this recipe, I am using both Mastiha tears as well as Mastiha liqueur. If you cannot find Mastiha liqueur then you can use a white spirit such as rum.
As for the rosewater make sure you buy pure rosewater that is meant for cooking purposes and not just for cosmetics so it's without any additives.
How To Make Kaimaki Ice Cream
There are two ways in which you can make Kaimaki ice cream. The first one is by using the ice cream machine. And the second is by using an electric hand mixer. In both ways, you need to heat the milk and heavy cream mixture (including sugar and flavorings) first. Until it forms Kaimaki on its surface. Kaimaki refers to the frothy foamy topping that forms on the surface of the milk and cream mixture after it has been heated for a while, over low or medium-low heat (depending on how strong your stove is). If you are using a gas stove it is better to keep the temperature low.
You will then need to let this mixture cool down to room temperature before placing it in the fridge to cool even further. Once cooled you may add the remaining flavorings (rose water and Mastiha liqueur or Rum). And then place the mixture either in the ice cream machine or in a mixing bowl with a lid (preferably a stainless steel one).
The process for making Kaimaki ice cream with an electric hand mixer goes as follows: cover the bowl with the lid and place it in the freezer for one hour. Remove the bowl from the freezer and with whisk attachment on the electric mixer beat for 2 minutes over medium speed. Cover and place the bowl back in the freezer for another hour. Repeat this process of freezing and mixing an overall of 4-5 times until the mixture gets very thick yet still mixable. You can then freeze it for 3-4 hours more until it's ready to serve!
SERVE IT WITH 🠯
Traditionally in Greece, Kaimaki is served most of the time topped with sour cherry preserves in syrup. Even though you can serve it on its own or with any other red fruit preserves you prefer. Another great topping for this ice cream is rose preserves that give an even more intense and aromatic flavor.
Kaimaki Ice Cream With Mastiha
- 780 grams / 27.5 oz heavy whipping cream 35 % fat
- 780 grams / 27.5 oz milk
- 240 grams / 8.4 oz sugar
- 8 grams (2 teaspoons ) Salep you may also find it under the name of Sahlep or Sahlab
- ½ teaspoon Mastiha tears
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 1 + ½ teaspoon Mastiha liquor (or use 1 teaspoon of Rum instead)
- 1 tablespoon rose water used for cooking
- Optional: sour cherry preserves to serve with like these or other red fruit preserves of your preference
- Add the Mastiha tears to a small food processor along with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. And blend until the tears turn into fine powder just like the sugar. Set aside.
- Take one cup of milk out of the 780 grams and add it to a small saucepan together with the Salep. Heat over medium-low heat stirring with a whisk until Salep dissolves completely. For this to happen it needs to get to a point where the milk gets steamy hot. Don't let it boil though as we don't want it to thicken yet.
- In a medium-sized cooking pot add the remaining milk, the whipping cream, the sugar, the Mastiha and sugar mix, the Salep and milk mixture, and salt.
- Heat over medium-low heat stirring occasionally with a whisk. If your stove is too strong you may want to keep the heat to low. Keep an eye on the pot and heat the mixture for about 30 to 40 minutes. It will slowly start to become slightly thicker than its original form looking more creamy but runny. And on the surface, it will form lots of foam/froth which is called the Kaimaki. Keep stirring occasionally and keep an eye on the pot during the whole process as it can easily get very frothy and spill out of the pot. When little bubbles start to form on the top and it starts simmering turn the heat off and transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl letting it cool down to room temperature.
- When the mixture has cooled (which takes about 2 hours) stir in the Mastiha liquor or Rum, as well as the rose water.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for about 3 hours to cool.
- Then you can either transfer mixture to the ice cream machine or make the Kaimaki ice cream using an electric hand mixer.
- To make the ice cream using an electric hand mixer first place the mixture in a mixing bowl with a lid. A stainless steel bowl would be ideal as it will distribute temperature and cool the ice cream quicker and more evenly.
- Place the bowl in the freezer for one hour. Then remove it from the freezer and place the whisk attachment on your electric hand mixer. Beat over medium speed for 2 minutes working all around mixing well the mixture that's all around the sides of the bowl (as this is where it is starting to freeze).
- Turn the mixer off, put the lid on the bowl and place it back in the freezer.
- After 1 hour, repeat the above process. Beat for 2 minutes and then place back in the freezer.
- Repeat this process of mixing and freezing a total of 4-5 times. Until the texture of the mixture looks like a thick cream.
- Then freeze for 3-4 hours more before serving.
- Don't forget to get the ice cream out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving.
- Serve the Kaimaki ice cream Greek-style topped with sour cherry preserves in syrup. Or any other red berry preserves such as raspberries, blueberries, etc.
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