When choosing mastiha you have to be sure that it originates from Chios island, Greece. Choose mastiha resin tears, which is its natural form. Another option is pure mastiha oil but it is rather expensive. This is the exact brand I buy and trust:
click on photo for link
but you can trust any sources from The Chios Gum Mastic Growers . A little goes a long way when you use the real stuff, so resist the urge to add more; if you use too much, it starts to taste bitter.
1 tbsp. neutral-flavoured vegetable oil (e.g. sunflower oil)
¼ teaspoon Chios mastiha resin crystal tears (around 3-4 medium sized crystals) other options
or 3-4 drops of pure mastiha oil
10 gr / 1 tbsp. 100% natural salep
1000 gr / 1 lt. / 1 quart whole milk
250 gr / 250 ml / 8.5 fluid ounces heavy cream, around 35%-38% fat
230 gr / 250 ml / 8.2 ounces demerara sugar(substitutes)
demerara sugar gives natural depth of flavor; if not available feel free to substitute with white sugar or any brown raw cane sugar you have handy (dark brown won’t do)
1 tbsp. orange-flower water (optional but delicious. You can also substitute with 1 tbsp. rosewater)
Step 1 –Melt the mastiha crystal tears
In a small saucepan lightly heat 1 tbsp. of sunflower oil with the mastiha crystals, stirring constantly until the mastiha melts (omit this step if using mastiha oil, in which case it will be added in Step 4).
Step 2 – Thicken the salep
Once the mastiha has dissolved, add 1 cup of the milk. Warm it gently on medium heat and once it is tepid, add the salep and stir with a fork until fully dissolved and absolutely no lumps remain. Stir with a spatula until the mixture starts to thicken. Set aside.
Step 3 – Prepare the ice cream base
In a large saucepan, pour the remaining milk and the cream and add the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium to high heat, stirring constantly with a spatula. Remove from the heat and using a ladle start pouring the hot milk into the salep mixture, a ladle at a time. Whisk well before each addition, scraping the bottom and sides well as you go. You will not need to add all the milk, just enough to sufficiently homogenize and thin it to a fluid consistency. No lumps should remain, only speckles which are ok. Pour it back to the large saucepan and warm it while stirring constantly with a spatula. Bring back to a boil and lower the heat. Let it simmer for 20 minutes, without stirring, during which time a thick layer of foam is formed on top.
Step 4 – Cool down the ice cream base
Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the mixture through a sieve into a metal bowl. Stir gently with a spatula for a few minutes, to help the steam evaporate and cool it down a bit. Place it over an ice bath to cool completely. Add the orange-flower water and stir well. (If using mastiha oil instead of crystals, add it now) Put it in a bowl with a lid and let stand in the fridge overnight, or up to 2 days.
Step 5 – Churn the ice cream
Transfer the mixture to your ice cream maker, which has been prepared according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When pouring it inside, take care not to exceed the 3/4 of your ice cream machine’s volume, as it will expand during churning. troubleshooting
ice cream machines vary in sizes. If the recipe for this ice cream base yields more than the 3/4 of your ice cream machine’s volume, don’t be tempted to overload it. Better keep the leftover for something else, like a base for smoothies.
Once the Dondurma ice cream is thick and fluffy, move to a container with lid, seal well and place in the freezer. Leave for a few hours to set.
Long term storing
Home made ice cream freezes hard, so it needs to be softened before serving. Transfer to the refrigerator and leave for about 30 minutes.
Dondurma ice cream in Greece is served with sour cherry preserves on top or folded in. It is also perfect when paired with baklava or cake, any kind of nutty or fruity cake. In the picture I have paired it with a simple walnut cake.