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Lebanese Milk Ice Cream (Booza ala Haleeb)

Lebanese Milk Ice Cream (Booza ala Haleeb)

I eat ice cream in all seasons, and maybe I crave it more in the winter, no no I crave it too in summer! That looks peculiar, right? I remember a friend of mine who told me once that the state of Alaska has the highest ice cream consumption. So thanks God, that makes me look normal!!

Lebanese ice cream comes in vibrant colors and flavors- mulberries, strawberries, lemon, chocolate, rose water, orange, etc… usually scooped out into wafer cones or filled in boxes. The good thing in Beirut is that you can have a multiple of flavors in one cone, so you will have the chance to taste various flavors.

But this week I was craving the milk ice cream – an eggless milk ice cream flavored with salep/ sahlab , mastic gum and rose water – dressed up in raw ground pistachios. Salep is a thickening powder made from the dried pulps of a mountain wild orchid – Turkey is the major salep producing country – it gives the ice cream that stretchy and chewy texture.

Another ingredient that adds a unique flavor is the mastic gum/mistaka. Mastic is the dried resin that seeps through the bark of the Pistacia lentiscous, a tree native to the Mediterranean. It appears as pea-sized granules and is used as a flavoring in lots of oriental sweets. These critical ingredients produce a rich creamy, elastic and fragrant tasty ice cream.

Thepistachios perfectly contrast the milky flavor of the ice cream. I actually tested the recipe a few times before I was fully satisfied with the result. The end product is a rich, creamy and a mouth-watering ice cream. Trust me on that! A taste to remember!!


1 cup raw pistachios, crushed
11/2 cups of powdered milk
3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
¾ cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 tablespoon salep (If you couldn’t find the Turkish original salep, the instant salep found online would do good as well, though the elasticity will be a bit less.
1 tablespoon rosewater
4 large mastic grains


1. With a mortar and pestle grind the mastic granules with a pinch of sugar.

2. Place the powdered milk, water, sugar, heavy cream, crushed mastic, cornstarch, salep powder in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and whisk continuously over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil, and that stage you will notice that the mixture has thickened a bit. Remove from heat, add the rosewater, stir well and set aside to cool down.

3. Place a piece of wax paper on top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 4hours or overnight. Transfer to an ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s freezing instructions. This should take about 30 minutes. Freeze it for another 2-3 hours, allowing the ice cream to harden.

4. Just upon serving sprinkle some pistachios on top of each bowl. Enjoy!!

Recipe By Hadias Cuisine

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