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TIP OF THE DAY: Faloodeh or Faludeh, It’s Delicious Rose Water Sorbet

Faloodeh Sundae
[1] Faludeh with a sour cherry topping (ba albaloo) at The Persian Fusion.

Faloodeh With Sour Cherries
[2] A squeeze of fresh lime juice blances the sweetness of the sobet (photo courtesy Tishineh, a site for Irani tourism).

Persian Ice Cream
[3] A “sundae” of faludeh combined with saffron ice cream (bastani in Arabic; photo courtesy Fun Love And Cooking). The combination of flavors is called makhloot.

Elegant Faloodeh

[4] An elegant update. Here’s the recipe from Tasting Table.

 

We first encountered faludeh, Persian rose water sorbet, years ago. It was an eye-opening frozen dessert among the many jewels at the ice cream emporium of Mashti Malone, in Los Angeles—to us, the most magical ice cream emporium in America.

We couldn’t believe how good it was—as is everything at Mashti Malone. Transliterated from the Arabic, you may also see it spelled faludeh or faloodeh, and also falude or palude.

A sidebar: The Mashti Malone ice cream shop is owned by Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani, two brothers from the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad. In 1980, Mashti bought an ice cream shop called Mugsy Malone on the corner of La Brea and Sunset in Hollywood. Because he had little money left over for a new sign, he simply replaced “Mugsy” with “Mashti,” and a legend was born.

WHAT IS FALUDEH

Faludeh is one of the earliest known frozen desserts; it has been dated to ca. 400 B.C.E. in Persia. Flavored with rose syrup, which also delivers a flowery scent, it’s a cross between shaved ice or granita, and sorbet.

Raw angel hair or vermicelli noodles, made from rice starch or corn flour and water, are mixed in. The result: a unique frozen dessert and sensory eating experience.

We’ve had Asian and Middle Eastern ice cream flavors before, but the rose water sorbet is a truly refreshing experience. The sorbet melts on the tongue, leaving the al dente rice starch noodles to crunch.

Unusual as it may sound, the noodles provides are so delightful that you may try adding them to other granita and sorbet flavors.

In its region of origin, it is a favorite dessert and party food.

  • Faludeh is served in one of two ways: ba limoo, with a splash of fresh lime juice or lime wedges; or ba albaloo, with a drizzle or sour cherry syrup. Or both!
  • We tried it with lemon juice and yuzu juice, too. Our favorite was yuzu juice and a lime wedge. The acidic citrus balances the floral, sweet flavors of the sweet rose flavors.
  • Pistachios and mint are popular garnishes.
  • Variations in texture, syrups and other ingredients exist across the Middle East, India and Pakistan.
  • In Iran, a scoop of faludeh is often served with a scoop of saffron-pistachio ice cream, a combination known as makhloot. It can be turned into a sundae with a splash of sour cherry syrup, and maybe a few sour cherries.
  •  
    Mashti Malone also makes saffron ice cream, and it is divine. Field trip, anyone?
     
     
    MAKING FALUDEH

    We tried a few different recipes in preparation for this article. The recipe below is a hybrid, taking what has worked for us to attain the best flavor with the simplest technique.

    Serve it in a bowl, on a plate, in a coupe or Martini glass.

    These days, faludeh can easily be made into granita; but we think that churning it into a smooth sorbet makes it even more magnificent.

    The rose water and rose syrup purchased for the occasion also are a delicious enhancement to vanilla ice cream.

  • Add rose water if you make your own vanilla ice cream.
  • You can also soften a pint of store-bought vanilla and vigorously whisk in the rose water, returning it to th4 freezer to harden.
  • In addition to refreshing yourself in the heat of the summer, also make faludeh on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. It is, in essence, edible roses.

     
    RECIPE: FALUDEH

    This recipe is granita-style, for those who don’t have an ice cream maker.

    If for some reason you don’t want to use noodles, you can substitute pistachio nuts or just enjoy the rose granita plain.

    If you’re a kitchen over-achiever, here are recipes to make your own rice starch noodles and cherry syrup.

    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 1 ounce dried rice sticks or rice vermicelli noodles
  • Fresh lime juice or lime wedges
  • Traditional garnishes: lime wedge, sour cherries and/or sour cherry syrup (but you can substitute raspberries and/or raspberry syrup), pistachios (whole or chopped), mint leaves
  • Western-style garnishes: fresh berries, mint leaves
  •  
    Preparation

    1. COMBINE the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the rose water. Set aside and let the syrup cool completely.

    2. PLACE the noodles in a heatproof bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand until soft, about five minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut or tear noodles into two-inch pieces. Next time, if wish, you can try longer longer noodles. When softened, drain.

    3. PLACE the noodles and syrup in a shallow pan or metal ice cube tray (anything that works for granita) and place it in the freezer for an hour. Then remove it, stir it with a fork and return to the freezer for another hour.

    4. RAKE the granita with a fork, and return to the freezer until the desired consistency is reached, about one to three hours. To serve…

    5. RAKE with a fork (like granita), and scoop the faludeh into bowls. Garnish as desired and serve with fresh lime juice or lime wedges.

     

    HISTORY OF FALUDEH

    Faludeh is originally from Shiraz in southwestern Persia/Iran, known as the city of poets, literature, wine and flower. The dessert is is also known as Shirazi Paludeh.

    Faludeh is one of the earliest forms of frozen desserts, with references found as early as 400 B.C.E.. At that time, ice was brought down from the mountains and stored in tall refrigerated buildings called yakhchals, which were kept cool by windcatchers.

    The recipe for faludeh was brought to the Indian subcontinent during the Mughal period, the 16th to 18th centuries. Their cooks adapted it into a cold dessert beverage called falooda.

    A Brief History Of Frozen Desserts

    A brief history of ice cream and its predecessor, frozen fruit juice (sorbet), begins around 2000 B.C.E. Around 4,000 years ago, the Chinese elite enjoyed a frozen dessert. The earliest may have been a frozen syrup, mixed with overcooked rice and spices, and packed in snow to harden.

    Later, a mixture of snow and saltpeter was poured over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup. In the same way that salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero.

    Fruit ices were also developed, prepared with fruit juices, honey and aromatic spices. Through trade routes, frozen desserts were introduced to the Persians about 2,500 years ago.

    (The Persian Empire includes the countries now known as Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey and portions of western China and northern Iraq.)

    The Persians drank syrups cooled with snow called sharbat (“fruit ice” in Arabic, and the derivation of sherbet, sorbet and sorbetto). Alternatively, you can envision fruit syrups poured over a dish of snow

    The Macedonian king Alexander III (Alexander the Great) battled the Persians for 10 years before finally toppling the Persian Empire in 330 B.C.E.

    In Persia, he discovered fruit “ices” sweetened with honey and chilled with snow, and brought the concept back to Greece—although the early form of faludeh he knew probably had no noodles.

    Three centuries later, Roman Emperor Nero’s famous banquets always included fruit juices mixed with honey and snow. At that point, it was granita, roughly-shaved ice. As technology improved, smooth sorbet emerged in Renaissance Italy.

    And the rest is sweet, sweet history.

     

    Faluda

    [5] In India, faludeh was turned into a drink for Mughlai royalty, called falooda (photo courtesy Merwyn’s Fotomac).

    Rice Sticks

    [6] Rice sticks (rice vermicelli) can be found in the Asian products aisle or online. You can similarly find rose water and sour cherry syrup.

     
    Around the same time, during the Mughal Empire in 1526-1540, faludeh traveled to India with Muslim merchants who settled there. There, it was transformed by locals into a drink, falooda (photo #5), a “float” rose syrup, vermicelli, sweet basil seeds and pieces of jelly with milk.

    Modern falooda is often topped off with a scoop of ice cream.

    By the way, both sorbetto/sharbat and pasta arrived in Italy with the Arab invasions of Sicily, in the 8th century (the Marco Polo story is a myth—see the history of pasta).

    Italian granita was born, flavored with fresh citrus, a wide range of fruits and coffee. The Italian cooks left out the noodles.

    Here’s more on the history of ice cream and other frozen desserts.

      

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    TOP PICKS OF THE WEEK: Muuna Cottage Cheese, Oui Yogurt & More

    Muuna Strawberry Cottage Cheese
    [1] Muuna’s cottage cheese cups with fruit on the bottom come in 6 fruit flavors (photo courtesy Muuna).

    Oui By Yoplait - Strawberry
    Yoplait’s new French-style yogurt line will have you saying “Oui!” (photo courtesy Oui By Yoplait).

    Reuse-a-Pop

    [3] Reuse-A-Pop is a mess-free opportunity for you to make your favorite flavor push-up ice pops (photo courtesy Russbe).

     

    1. MUUNA COTTAGE CHEESE WITH FRUIT

    We were probably the last person in New York to buy Breakstone Pineapple Cottage Cheese before they discontinued it. It was the Ascension Of Yogurt Era, and grocers eliminated slower-moving SKUs to give the space to the hot ones.

    Now, a new brand called Muuna is offering all the fruited cottage cheese our heart desires (photo #1). The line is lowfat and creamy, with the fruit on the bottom that you mix up, like a carton of sundae-style yogurt.

    It’s also rich in protein: 15g of protein per 5.3-ounce cup.

    The fruit is not the typical preserves at the bottom of of the cup but actual chopped fruit, in your choice of:

  • Blueberry
  • Mango
  • Peach
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberry
  •  
    There are also two plain options: 2% and 4% milkfat.

    The line is all natural, non-GMO, rBST-free and certified kosher by cRc.

    Welcome back, pineapple cottage cheese—and hello to you other flavors. You’re our Top Pick Of The Week.
    ________________

    *See the different types of yogurt.
     
     
    2. OUI BY YOPLAIT YOGURT

    Our co-Top Pick is the new Oui by Yoplait line of yogurt (photo #2). It’s different from every other container of Yoplait you’ve had.

    Eating yogurt from the perky glass jar, you could imagine you’re in France. The jar (repurposeable or recyclable) makes you look cool and in-the-know. And the yogurt does not disappoint.

    The company calls it saveur d’autrefois, the taste of yesteryear.

    Yoplait’s foray into premium, French-style yogurt (also called custard-style and Swiss-style) is on point, hitting the trending consumer checklist for all natural, non-GMO and reduced sugar products. The eight flavors include:

  • Black Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Coconut
  • Lemon
  • Peach
  • Plain
  • Strawberry
  • Vanilla
  •  
    A final endorsement comes from the secretary of our building, with whom we shared our samples. She is a native of Greece who eats Greek yogurt every day. Her feedback: “Outstanding!”

    The line is certified kosher (dairy) by OK.
     
     
    3. RUSSBE REUSE-A-POP BAGS

    Russbe creates reusable lunch containers, but that’s not a product we have need for.

    What we do need, and love, are the Reuse-A-Pops bags for creating homemade frozen juice pops, puréed fruit, yogurt, and other frozen pops.

    The push-up bags (photo #3) with zipper seals ensures no messy leaks or spills. Freeze, enjoy, wash, reuse. At $6.99 for 12, you can’t go wrong.

    We just enjoyed our first batch: watermelon (from watermelon juice), cantaloupe (from puréed melon) and yogurt-garlic-dill (who says ice pops have to be sweet?). Yum!

     

    4. DI GIORNO CRISPY PAN PIZZA

    We live in a neighborhood where crisp, thin-crust pizza is what grown-ups eat. When people order from Pizza Hut, it’s for the kids.

    We have a reputation to uphold, and hesitate to be seen carrying a deep-dish pizza into the building, no matter how much we need that specific comfort food.

    But there’s a solution for our cravings: DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza, a frozen pizza from the supermarket in its own pan.

    The one-inch-plus-deep crispy crust pie, with extra cheese and plenty of toppings, comes in four flavors:

  • Pepperoni
  • Four Cheese
  • Supreme
  • Three Meat
  •  
    We like everything on our pie (or as much of it as we can get). We went for the Supreme: pepperoni, sausage, green and red peppers and black olives.

     

    DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pizza

    [3] Pan pizza in four flavors stays in the freezer. Twelve minutes in the oven delivers steaming, aromatic comfort food (photo courtesy DiGiorno).

     
    In just 12 minutes we pulled the pie—a crunchy outside and a soft inside— fragrant and bubbling from the oven.

    Now, we just have to clear out the freezer to make room for more DiGiorno boxes.

      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Ice Cream Toppings Beyond The Usual

    Most of us use particular condiments on foods out of habit. The convention differs among countries.

  • Americans might use steak sauce while Argentinians use chimichurri.
  • In the U.S., it’s maple syrup that goes on top of pancakes. In Eastern Europe and elsewhere it’s jam, in the U.K. it’s golden syrup, a.k.a. light treacle, a thick, amber-colored inverted sugar syrup that looks like honey, without honey’s distinctive flavor notes.
  •  
    Ice cream toppings around the world vary as well.

  • In the U.S., sweet sauces and whipped cream rule (photo #1).
  • In Japan, you might go for red bean sauce, mochi bits, gelatin and more (photo #2).
  •  
    On the last day of National Ice Cream Month (July), we went on an adventure by looking around the kitchen to see what we could put on ice cream, beyond our standard inventory of chocolate and caramel sauces.

    You can have the same adventure. Look beyond those and the other usual sauces (butterscotch, peanut butter, raspberry) or garnishes (candies, cookies, fruit, nuts), to what you may logically not think of.

    We invited some friends and a few quarts of vanilla and chocolate ice cream, to pair with our atypical ice cream toppings. We also found some “matching garnishes” and made a sundae event of it all.
     
    WHAT WE FOUND IN OUR KITCHEN

    BIRCH SYRUP, which has similar uses as maple syrup (more about it). Garnish: Corn Flakes.

    CHOPPED VEGETABLES, like raw corn kernels and sugar snap peas. We tried a mix of raw corn, popcorn and crunchy Inca corn kernels (like Corn Nuts), and had a heck of a corn sundae. These were the garnishes; we topped the ice cream with some golden syrup. If only we could have found some corn ice cream (recipe #1 and recipe #2).

    COCONUT SYRUP, a popular pancake syrup and sweetener in Hawaii. Toss on some flaked coconut.

    DATE SYRUP, called silan in Arabic, which refers to what we would call date honey, date molasses or date syrup. Garnishes: chopped dates and other dried fruits.

     

    Hot Fudge Sundae
    [1] Fudge, caramel, whipped cream and a cherry on top (photo courtesy Morton’s).

    Japanese Sundae

    [2] Red beans, marshmallows, gelatin, and more in Japan (photo courtesy Sumally).

     
    FLAVORED SALT, a few crunchy grains as garnish on top of the ice cream. We have a lot of these salts, from smoked salt to flavored salts (matcha, truffle, etc.). We’re glad to have another use for them (more about them). Especially nice with honey and maple syrup.

    GOLDEN SYRUP, the pancake syrup of choice in the U.K., also used on ice cream (more about it). Garnish: anything you want.

    HONEY: Plain honey is fine, but we loved using our flavored honeys (chile, cinnamon, lavender). Garnish: fresh fruit.

    LIGHT MOLASSES, a.k.a. sweet molasses, also used as pancake syrup or a sweetener, especially in the south and other areas that had no maple trees. Garnish: anything.

    MAPLE SYRUP: We used a walnut and raisin garnish. Trail mix works, too. And those crunchy Corn Flakes.

    OLIVE OIL: Mild or grassy olive oils (link) make a delightful drizzle. Top with some crunchy sea salt.

    PIE FILLING: No extra garnish is required, but we threw on some granola.

    SIMPLE SYRUP, the flavored syrups used at coffee shops to make your hazelnut (or other flavor) latte. Garnish: anything you like.

    SPICES: cayenne, chipotle powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. For richer flavor, toast the spices in a hot dry pan until they release their aroma.
     
     
    Does this sound strange to you?

    We had such a good time, we’re going to do it again, with other flavors of ice cream.

      

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    PRODUCT: Homemade Soft Serve at Mah Ze Dahr Bakery

    Mah Ze Dahr Frozen Custard Cone

    Mah Ze Dahr Frozen Custard

    Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich

    Have it your way (cone, cup, brownie sandwich): soft serve made from scratch, from Mah Ze Dahr bakery in New York’s Greenwich Village (photos courtesy Mah Ze Dahr).

     

    We celebrated National Ice Cream Day yesterday (it’s the third Sunday in July), by taking a short trip to Mah Ze Dahr bakery in Greenwich Village.

    In addition to the glorious cakes, cookies and bars, hand pies, scones and savories, the bakery provided our first experience with made-from-scratch soft serve.

    Every other soft serve we know of starts with a base mix, from which the establishment can add flavors. Not Mah Ze Dahr.

    Everything is made from scratch: the ice cream, the glorious waffle cones with a bit of cinnamon (the best cones we’ve ever had), even the “Magic Shell” chocolate syrup that is added to the bottom of the cone, where it hardens to stop drips.

    If the chef could make her own sprinkles—and grow her own coffee and tea, for that matter—we have no doubt she’d do it.

    The toppings include the shop’s excellent brownies, peanut brittle and tiny meringues, plus “imported” favorites like sprinkles, M&Ms and chopped walnuts.

    Mah Ze Dahr is the passion project of Umber Ahmad, a former investment banker whose passion for great flavors inspired her to bake professionally.

    In Urdu, the word mazedar describes “the taste essence of food, its flavor and magic that make it delicious.

    “This one word captures the life of a taste experience, unique to each person but cohesive in its stories,” says Umber. “It represents something that one cannot describe but wants to experience over and over again.”

    Umber was “discovered” by restaurateur Tom Colicchio, who created the Colicchio Discovery Platform to identify and mentor the most promising food enterprises.

    RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

    The charming shop at 28 Greenwich Avenue, a block west of Sixth Avenue, transports you to a lovely place: You could be in The Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. When we visited, the calm, casual beauty of the place—not to mention the contents of the pastry cases—was an oasis.

    We agree! In addition to enjoying the soft serve on site, we bought a pastry sampling to take home (where the six pieces lasted, oh, an hour or so, and we looked mournfully at the empty boxes the next day).

    The memories of the lemon pound cake, brioche doughnut filled with pastry cream, banana bread and “everything” brioche braid make us wish for more—now!

    ORDER ONLINE

    While you can’t get the soft serve online, most of the baked goods can be ordered at MahZeDahrBakery.com.

    And with that, we’re planning our next visit. We must have the lemon meringue cake, the flourless dark chocolate cake (send one to a gluten-free friend), the carrot cake, the chocolate choux, and…[sounds of racing out the door].

     
    FROZEN CUSTARD HISTORY

    Fruit ices were invented in China (around 2000 B.C.E.), and gelato/ice cream was created in Florence in the 1500s.

    Frozen custard (a.k.a. soft serve) was invented in the New York in the early 19th century.

    Here’s the history of frozen custard.

     
      

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    TIP OF THE DAY: Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches & An Ice Cream Sandwich Social

    Ice Cream Sandwiches
    Adapt the concept of an ice cream social to a DIY ice cream sandwich social (photo courtesy King Arthur Flour).

    Vanilla Milk
    This vanilla milk is made with honey. Here’s the recipe from A Well Fed Life. You can use your sweetener of choice (ours is Splenda).

    Coffee Milk

    An easy way to make coffee milk: Just add coffee syrup, as in this recipe from Cocktail Crafty.

     

    July is National Ice Cream Month. In our neck of the woods, gourmet ice cream sandwiches have been the rage for a while.

    What makes them “gourmet,” beyond the super-premium ice cream, is the sandwiching—usually homemade cookies in chocolate chip, chocolate chocolate chip, oatmeal, peanut butter and snickerdoodle.

    When we make our own cookies for homemade ice cream sandwiches, we make chocolate-dipped graham crackers. When people ask what they can bring, we assign them a batch of cookies.

    There’s plenty of time to invite friends and family for a casual ice cream social* this weekend or next. You set out the fixings, and let guests make their own sandwiches.

    Then, make up your menu:

  • Cookies: 3″ diameter, plus mini-cookies if desired*
  • Waffles, quartered*
  • Ice cream
  • Sprinkles, mini-chips, chopped nuts
  •  
    Limit the cookie, ice cream and garnish choices the first time out. See what gets consumed most; then you can vary the choices next time.
     
    UTENSILS

  • Ice trays/bins for ice cream
  • Scoops, spoons, spatulas for ice cream
  • Large plates or trays for adding garnishes
  • Paper plates and napkins
  • Tablecloths
  • Trays
  •  
    BEVERAGES

    What beverages go best with ice cream sandwiches?

    Youngsters might clamor for soft drinks, but coffee and tea, hot and iced, go best.

    You know your guests: Are they insistent on beer and wine, or would they be happy with an iced coffee—with a shot of vodka or coffee liqueur?

    Consider these options, each of which can be enjoyed plain or with a shot:

  • Iced coffee
  • Iced tea
  • Vanilla milk and/or coffee milk (recipe follows)
  •  
    RECIPE: VANILLA MILK or COFFEE MILK

    Ingredients Per 8-Ounce Glass

  • 1 cup milk (0%, 1%, 2%) or nondairy milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon sugar or substitute
  • For coffee milk: black coffee to taste
  • ________________

    *To estimate how many cookies or waffle quarters you’ll need, multiply 2 cookies/sandwich times 2 sandwiches/guest.

     
    ICE CREAM SOCIAL HISTORY
     
    An ice cream social is a party where people come to eat ice cream.

    Ice cream socials date back to 18th-century America, long before the dawn of electric freezers—not to mention electric ice cream makers. The ice cream was hand-cranked.

    While a laborious undertaking, ice cream socials were very popular, traditional gatherings. According to Wikipedia:

  • The first ice cream social in America was in 1744, when Maryland governor Thomas Bladen served ice cream for a dinner party.
  • The first ice cream social in the White House was in 1802 by President Thomas Jefferson.
  • When ice cream became more available to the middle classes in the mid-1800s, schools and churches began to host ice cream socials. Those held outdoors by the well-to-do became known as ice cream gardens.
  • Some churches and communities still hold ice cream socials today, but an ice cream social is an easy party to throw at home—no “community effort” required.
  • If you have neither garden nor other outdoor space, you can still host a delightful ice cream social.
  •  
    ICE CREAM TRIVIA: THE FIRST FLAVOR

    Many people would guess that vanilla was the first ice cream flavor, but that is far from the case.

    You have to think back to the origins of ice cream, around 2000 B.C.E. in China, when the first ice cream was made from snow, flavored with fruit syrups.

    The concept reached the Middle East via traders, and Alexander the Great brought it to Greece after conquering Persia in 331 B.C.E., where it became a treat for the nobility, who had the servants to fetch snow and ice from the mountains and turn it into dessert. The shaved ice and snow were combined with fruit toppings, honey and nuts—the first sundae, perhaps.

    Vanilla, which originated in Mexico and was used to flavor the cacao drink, didn’t become a flavor in Europe until the 1600s. As in Mexico, only the wealthy could afford it.

    Thomas Jefferson is credited with introducing vanilla to the United States in the late 1700s. He became familiar with vanilla at the court of King Louis XVI, while serving as U.S. minister to France (from 1785 to 1789). When he returned to the U.S., he brought 200 vanilla beans with him, and his cook had learned to make ice cream.

    Here’s the history of vanilla.

      

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