Dondurma

The first time I had the pleasure of trying dondurma I was in university in Chicago. A Turkish festival was being held right across the street from my school and my friends and I went over to check it out as soon as class was over. My friend Trae who had lived in Turkey for years told me that I had to try the ice-cream because it was something different and intriguing. She was right and from that day forward dondurma has been a treat I held dear unfortunately it’s very rare to find anywhere else in the world. In Lebanon and Syria they also make this exact ice-cream although it’s called a different name.

Dondurma is made from sahlep, flour which is made from orchids and mastic. These two ingredients are what make the ice-cream have a thick and chewy texture. I have been working on this recipe for quite some time trying to make it as close to what I remembered as best I could at home. This final batch was successful enough for me to share with you, I am pretty proud of it because it was everything in texture as it should be which is a chewy and thick make. Usually vendors will pull the ice-cream up and down all day with a large spoon, working it for the right pull. Obviously this is something hard for making at home but this is as close as you will get making it yourself. I decided to mold mine to be a uniformed block of ice-cream just for looks but do not let the simple shape fool you this ice-cream offers everything it should. 

2 mastic balls, frozen for 5 minutes
1/3 cup ground salep
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
ground cinnamon, for topping 

1. With a mortar carefully grind mastic until ground, set aside. 

2. In a small bowl add cream, salep and vanilla, whisk until blended and set aside.

3. In a 4-quart saucepan on low-medium heat add  milk, mastic and salep mixture. Whisk until combined then add sugar, mixing well. 

4. Continuing whisking the mixture so the milk does not stick to the pan but also use a ladle to scoop and pour mixture back into pan. This will stretch the mix. Continue doing these two things non-top for 25 minutes. 

5. In an 8x8inch baking square baking pan line with plastic wrap, carefully pour hot mixture into pan. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and place into freezer. Every few hours, remove mixture from freezer and stir to mix up. After you do this 3-4 times cover and allow to freezer overnight. 

6. The next day remove dondurma from the freezer and slice individual servings then sprinkle with ground cinnamon, serve and place remaining dondurma back into freezer. 

Yields: 8 servings

3 Responses to Dondurma

  • kristin says:

    MashaAllah, this recipe intimidates me since I’ve never tried an authentic version for comparison but you continue to inspire me with your kitchen creativity! I love being exposed to new foods/culture!

  • From Yeast to Zest says:

    Salah had some in Turkey, they do some neat tricks when serving it…with a sword. :)

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