Ice cream is called dondurma in Turkish. What make it different from other ice creams around the world is its texture and flavor. If you have tasted it in Turkey or somewhere else, you know what I mean. Turkish Ice Cream has an elastic texture and its lovely flavor comes from salep, which is the powder of orchid bulbs. Although it has the flavor of salep, it is known as plain ice cream –sade dondurma in the country and nonone calls it salep ice cream. I made it at home for the first time and it turned out pretty amazing, as yummy and gummy as the ones we buy from vendors or cafes. Don’t worry if you don’t have an ice cream maker, this recipe doesn’t require one.
Turkish ice cream is very dense and chewable, so it doesn’t melt easily and you might find it completely different from the regular smooth ice creams you know. If you are an ice cream fan, I highly recommend you to taste this traditional Turkish ice cream. If there is a list of foods to taste before you die, this chewy ice cream must be on the top!
Salep is also the name of an aromatic winter drink, which is a combination of milk, sugar and the powdered orchid bulbs. As Harold McGee claims in his article named Ice Cream That’s a Stretch at The New York Times, this divine ice cream might have been discovered when salep drink was accidentally frozen.
Genuine salep is really pricy here as it has been a rare product even in Turkey, but a very small amount will be enough for you so you don’t have to pay much. The question is, can you find it abroad? I’m not sure if it is sold at middle east markets, but I guess you can find it at online markets.
- 4 cups milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp salep
- 1 tsp vanilla powder
- Combine salep, sugar and vanilla powder in a bowl.
- Heat the milk a little and add salep mixture gradually. Make sure that no lumps are left. Stir constantly. It reaches the pudding consistency as it is cooked.
- Bring the heat to the lowest and cook for 30-40 minutes.
- Let it cool.
- Transfer it to a bowl and put in the freezer . Let it sit there for 30 minutes.
- Take it out and whisk constantly with a fork for 2-3 minutes. Scrape the ice cyristals you see around the top of the container. Put it back into the freezer.
- Repeat this 4-5 times in every 30 minutes. You will see how it stretches when whisking. If you whisk it letting it stretch, it’s better.
- Transfer the mixture in an airtight container and freeze for 5 hours.