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Monday, October 17, 2011

Elastic Ice Cream? Yup! It's Called Dondurma

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...One of the unusual sights in the markets and bazaars of Turkey is the side show that accompanies the sale of salep dondurma, or orchid ice cream. The ice cream is made from milk, mastic resin and salep. The mastic comes from an evergreen tree that's a member of the pistachio family and salep is a powder made from wild orchid tubers that are believed to have aphrodisiac powers. Needless to say, that makes it a popular treat, but that popularity has also made it impossible to find the ice cream outside of Turkey. Mass production of dondurma has depleted the country's supply of wild orchids and caused the government to ban their export. The ice cream, which is served cold but not frozen, is dense and chewable and has amazing elastic powers. Its consistency is a bit like taffy and it bears bears no relationship to the ice cream we normally eat. The show that is used to drum up business is choreographed and resembles the vaudeville version of a shell game designed to prove the hand is quicker than the untrained eye. It begins with a rhythmic beating as the vendor bangs his 3 foot spatula against the ice cream bins. The ice cream in the vats is then stabbed, lifted from the bin in a solid mass and stretched like taffy or pizza dough. If there is an unwitting participant, the games begin. Ice cream is scraped into a cone in leaf-like layers and it is offered to the customer who suddenly finds his cone is empty. The vendor repeats the performance several times before the cone is surrendered and finally enjoyed. Fortunately, the ice cream is thick and will not melt and the show is funny, at least the first time you see it. Those of you who are interested can watch a version of the performance here. I am going to include a recipe for the classic version of the ice cream so you can see how it is made. The ingredients are difficult to come by, so that I suspect few of you will view the recipe as anything other than an interesting curiosity. Here's the recipe.

Turkish Orchid Ice Cream - Dondurma...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Nancy Gaifyllia

Ingredients:
3 cups of double cream or whipping cream
3 cups of full fat milk
1 1/8 cups of sugar
3 teaspoons of salep (level)
7/8 - 1 teaspoon of golden gum mastic, ground (see below)
Directions:
1) Grind the mastic: Mastic is usually sold in drops of resin which can stick to the mortar and pestle during grinding. To avoid, freeze mastic for 15 minutes before using and place it along with 1-2 tablespoons of the sugar in the mortar. Grind with the pestle.
2) In a mixing bowl, beat 1/2 cup of the milk with the ground mastic (and sugar used to grind) until completely blended. Dissolve the salep in 1/2 cup of cold milk. Warm the remaining milk in a saucepan over low heat. Beating the mastic mixture at high speed, add the warm milk, then the dissolved salep. Add remaining sugar and cream.
3) Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and boil over low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and clumping. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
4) When cooled, transfer to ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Remove from freezer 10 minutes before serving.








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Dondurma photos courtesy of Bambi Vincent

36 comments:

Foodycat said...

I love that slight chewiness of Turkish icecream! This is a lovely post!

Au and Target said...

Orchids are lovely to look at and to eat. Love them!

My Little Space said...

OMG, I can't believe it! Did you make this???? I saw this selling at one of the shopping mall in the city. Expensive but nice! The ice cream doesn't even drip! :o)
Thanks so much for sharing it. Hope you're having great fun. And no more green & blue head along the trip. hehe....
Best wishes, Kristy

A Spoonful of Yumm said...

this is so interesting. love all the information you posted :)

Hovkonditorn said...

This was really interesting to read! Thanks for sharing!

Kim said...

So interesting. I did not know about this elastic ice cream!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

I KNEW I was going to love to hear all about your adventures!! Elastic ice cream! WOW! Loving my vicarious travels... tanna

Rambling Tart said...

How fascinating!! I love quirky recipes like this. :-)

The Blonde Duck said...

That pie looks so good!

What's Baking?? said...

Sounds very interesting...if i ever go to turkey, is shall go look for it! lol

Clint said...

Pretty funny video---but I would prolly slap that obnoxious server. Ha.

savoringtoday.com said...

It always amazes me the unique foods all over the world -- interesting post, learn something new every day!

Jenn said...

Oh, I would so eat that up!!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Just popping in quickly to say hello. Great post I love it. Take care Diane

Anna said...

Well I DO declare!!

kitchen flavours said...

So interesting! Have never heard of this before! Would real love to try this! Thanks for sharing!

That Girl said...

When I was in NYC in 2008 I wanted to try this Turkish ice cream, but we never got around to the restaurant that was selling it.

Pondside said...

What a performance. I'm no sure that I'd enjoy the texture, but if I ever get a chance to taste it I'll do it!

Lori E said...

How bizarre is that. I don't know if I want to eat anything with the name of mastic...sounds like something from the hardware store.
Oh there is so much out there that we don't know about isn't there.

David said...

Mary, Well this is something totally new to me! Interesting but I wouldn't have the patience for that 'show'. Just give me the ice cream please! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

Akila said...

wow...really amazing... just love the post....

Dish Name Starts With K
Learning-to-cook
Regards,
Akila

Karen Harris said...

What a fun post. I've missed your last few posts due to a shake up over at my blog. Things are staightened up now and I'll have to spend some time over here catching up with you. I can't wait to hear more about your trip.

Sue/the view from great island said...

Thanks Mary, that's the best laugh I've had all day. I love that you include the recipe. Did you like it?

Pam said...

Strange - I've never heard of it before. It looks great.

Juliana said...

Oh Mary! How come I did not have a chance to try this ice cream when in Turkey? So interesting this chewy texture.
Hope you have a wonderful week ahead and thank for this nice post :-)

Arlenesfelt said...

Isn't Turkey fantastic! I loved the post on Cappadocia. We did the balloon ride at dawn and it was unbelievable, just as you said. Never saw this Ice Cream. I do remember in Istanbul a fruity drink that is poured from samovars that the vendors wear strapped on their backs, tipping themselves forward to pour. Also wonderful round rolls with sesame seeds called simit( I think ?) You buy those from guys who have them on wood posts on their heads. I would go out in the morning and get them fresh from the bakery for our breakfast. I look forward to your next posts. Thank you!
Turkey is all around wonderful!

Chelsea said...

This is so incredible! I have never heard of this! Thank you for broadening my horizons.

lifeisfull said...

Highly interesting! Thanks for sharing!

Claudia said...

This is fascinating Mary. I wonder if I could even replicate this in MN. I do love and wonder at the idea of the wild orchids. MN actually has a wild orchid - showy Lady Slippers in June - but it's illegal to pick them and you wouldn't want to. Dondurma just looks so wonderfully thick.

Shug said...

Very Interesting...I would love to try it! maybe someday...
Blessings,
shug

Bossy Chef said...

I one day hope to travel and experience the food you post about.... so fantastic!

Alessandra said...

Wow, you came back from your travels with wonders!!!

Ciao
Alessandra

Barbara said...

Amazing, Mary. Loved the video. It sure looks exactly like ice cream, doesn't it? I'm going to love reading all about your trip!

Inside a British Mum's Kitchen said...

Who knew?? Certainly not me!! was it good? fun post :)
Mary x

mari carmen said...

Muy bonito!!! me gustaría ir a Turquía un beso

sweetjumbles said...

If/when you're ever in NYC, stop by a restaurant called Illili and try their Turkish ice cream! I think you'd like it.

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