A Persian-inspired Orange Blossom Frozen Yogurt Dessert

Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Is this a dream or a Persian inspired feast? | Photo by Pericle

Persian inspired Orange blossom frozen yogurt dessert with pomegranate arils & pistachio | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog)

Persian inspired Orange blossom frozen yogurt dessert by Bojana | Photo by Pericle

A Persian Dinner Party of Dreams … except that it was real!
What follows are a series of images and narrative account of what appears to be a transcendental Persian dinner party of dreams … except that it was real! I did not attend this party (oh cruel destiny) but was made privy to it by Bojana, an intriguing woman I became acquainted with at a party in Brooklyn, who had hosted this gorgeous dinner and made the beautiful Persian-inspired orange blossom frozen yogurt dessert (see photo above and the recipe below.) I beseeched to document the dinner party and Bojana and her partners in artful decadence agreed and sent the pix and the story. What ensues is a beautiful visual and culinary feast we can vicariously enjoy. Before getting on with it though, let’s meet our tasteful, gracious hosts:

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Bojana, who hosted the dinner and made the Persian inspired gorgeous dessert (the featured recipe) is an architect by day, baker by night. She loves nothing more than having an excuse for a house full of people eating, drinking and celebrating the simple pleasures in life. (Let me just say that if I had a genie granting three wishes, I would happily use one to attend a dinner party of hers.)

Shukri wrote the copy that follows – narrating the story of how the dinner party came to be and poetically detailing the dishes, several of which he made himself: rice; Medjool dates stuffed with walntus and Roguefort; and doogh, a most excellent and unique salted yogurt drink. Shukri was born in Kurdistan and has lived in Brooklyn for many years. When he’s not working, he either fiddles with bicycles or cameras, or he rides his bicycle, sometimes with a camera. If he’s forced to ride the subway because of endless winters, he likes to take his sketchbook on the train.

Pericle took all the photographs featured in this post. Pericle is an architect and amateur photographer. Amateur is defined as a person who engages in an activity for pleasure rather than for financial benefit or professional reasons. The root of the word being the latin amātor (lover) equivalent to amā-  (stem of amāre) which is: to love. Words are not required to explain that the love shines through the stunningly beautiful photographs.

 OK, then, now that we’ve met our hosts (so to speak) let’s  proceed to get intoxicated in the heady delight of an ample amount of sensual gorgeousness!

Fresh herb plater with baked seeds & walnuts. And Feta Cheese. Served with bread.

Fresh herb platter with feta cheese & walnuts. Served with bread.

The Story of the Persian Themed Dinner Party – written by Shukri:

While waiting for my friend to dine and catch up at the wonderful Cafe Nadery in Greenwich Village, I happened upon a copy of The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia in their little library. Noticing they had two copies, I convinced the manager to sell me one. Upon arrival, my baker friend extraordinaire Bojana, immediately volunteered a Persian themed potluck dinner at her place. The date was set and guests were asked to contribute a dish inspired by the Persian cuisine.

Having grown up in the Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, the ingredients in the book’s recepies were somewhat familiar to me. As the Persian Empire once stretched from Libya to India, Kurdish cuisine shares many of the same ingredients and dishes, although naturally varying from region to region.

I choose three recipes from the book:

  • A fresh herb platter with feta cheese; showered with olive oil, baked seeds, and walnuts, and served and eaten with flat bread
  • Homemade yogurt with fresh shredded beets and
  • A potato and dill salad, served warm
Perisan themed dinner party Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Medjool dates stuffed with walnuts & Roquefort made by Shukri | Photo by Pericle

I made rice the Kurdish way, the way my mother taught me. Neither Kurdish nor Persian, Medjool dates stuffed with walnuts and Roquefort were a personal touch and therefore legitimate Hors d’oeuvre. Finally, I made the ubiquitous-in-the-Middle-East drink of salted yogurt, called Doogh in Farsi, Dao in Kurdish, and Ayran in Turkish. This too I made the way I knew.

Doogh Dao Ayran salted Iranain yogurt drink middle eastern drink posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog)

Doogh – a most refreshing & unique salted yogurt drink

Although rigidly themed as you can tell, some guests proved unruly and insubordinate.

One guest had misheard the invitation and instead of Persian inspired dishes, he made two Syrian salads. Another guest baked a Dorada fish Mediterranean style.The venison, hunted by a personal friend, was entrusted to a guest who had never before tasted game. With a self described cookbook of intuition and feeling, the honorable deer was roasted to perfection.

Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Game Venison roasted to Perfection with intuition and feeling | Photo: Pericles

Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Dorado Fish Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Dorado Fish – Baked Mediterranean Style | Photo: Pericles

And while spirits are not (publicly) part of an Iranian meal, the assembled Diaspora enjoyed the homemade Romanian pear and apricot brandy procured by our friend Pericle, whose beautifully ethereal photographs communicate the atmosphere of our dinner.

For desert, our gracious hostess and recently anointed architect of deliciousness, thought up a delicately layered Persian inspired Orange blossom frozen yogurt.

Persian inspired Orange blossom frozen yogurt dessert with pomegranate arils & pistachio | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog)

Let’s look at Bojana’s gorgeous dessert again! Love Shurki’s poetic description of it | Photo by Pericle

The ensemble looked like a mountain, snowcapped with a sweet nest of halva, where two lovers (pistachios) are surrounded by a field of red roses (pomegranate seeds). Our photo shows one pistachio on the peak and one in the crevasse, but so it goes. Moans and groans were heard (for either pistachio) upon the tasting of the first spoonful.

A truly amazing dessert, A worthy ending for the best of Persian feasts.

Here’s Bojana’s recipe and instructions, in her own words:

“I set out to create a desert that was easy and quick to make, subtle in flavor and very light. Knowing that Shukri’s dinner will be bountiful, I wanted our guests to have a palate cleanser at the end of the meal, that has a tart punch and clean finish.”

Persian (inspired) frozen Orange Blossom Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients graphic icon illustration black and white

Direction graphic icon illustration black and white

You can make frozen yogurt using your own home-made yogurt. I use Ronnybrook plain full fat yoghurt as a starter and whole milk. Follow any low sugar content frozen yogurt recipe, using an ice cream machine or; You can cheat; I found that plain tart flavor of Yogurtland yogurt is very close to the real thing. It will not be as full body tasting, as they are fat free, but it’s a great alternative.

Bring yogurt to soft serve temperature. Add Orange blossom water and mix in by hand with a silicone spatula. To a 1/2 gallon of yogurt you only need to use a capful of the orange blossom water. Add more to taste, but carefully, the flavor can quickly overpower.

Serving Ing graphic icon illustration black and white

Scoop nicely in a serving dish, sprinkle with pistachios, pomegranate arils and form peaks with your fingers atop of the yogurt with Shredded Halva.

Ta-da! The desert is done. Serve with that sound and smile.

Delighted  Guests at a delightful dinner party

Delighted Guests at a delightful dinner party

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Persian dinner beautiful Iranian food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

Feasting is sometimes a somber business!

Persian dinner beautiful Iranain food feast | posted by Fig & Quince (Iranian food blog) Photography: Pericles

It takes many hands to prepare and enjoy a Persian inspired feast

Simply lovely! Thank you Shukri jan, Pericle jan and Bojana jan for a very special feast of a guest post!

Daffodil flower illustration icon graphic by Fig & Quince (Iranian food culture blog)

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53 thoughts on “A Persian-inspired Orange Blossom Frozen Yogurt Dessert

  1. I too wish I had been at this wonderful dinner party. I also got excited by the third picture down. I used to own a chest like the one in the picture. It was bought on the Afghanistan border. The food looks delicious. I would eat it all.

  2. wow this is amazing, it is like looking through a gourmet magazine the photographs, the guests, the mood, the food, the story – I understand why you would happily donate one wish to to participate in the next dinner party!

  3. What an absolutely wonderful idea… and so many beautiful recipes. I love the dessert especially!

  4. My reaction while reading this? Oh… A few lines later….oh…, and then again….oh… I guess what I’m trying to say is that I was mesmerized by it all. The food, the story, the pictures. This is THE Persian dinner of anybody’s dream! Just so wonderful! XOXO

    • Thank you Melissa. The dessert was part of the dinner and made by Bojana! I did not make it but only admire it from afar although plan to make it as well soon.

  5. This is an amazing post. I definitely would’ve given up a wish to be present at that dinner party also! Love every dish that you’ve mentioned here. The orange blossom yoghurt is similar to an ice cream that I made a few weeks ago… such a beautiful, delicate flavour to end a meal. Thanks for adding in this guest post Azita, such a wonderful contribution from your talented and creative friends! xx

    • I have to run to your blog and see if you posted about your ice cream. Sorry I’ve been missing in action. I’m juggling some crazy stuff but I miss visiting your blog. I’m so happy you liked this post Laura

  6. What an unbelievably delicious array of exotica. The medjool dates are a favourite of mine. When we stay at our son’s house in London, I make a point of making a daily visit to the Middle Eastern shop at the end of his road. It’s from this place that I stock up with things that I can’t find out in the countryside here in France.

    • Ah. The tough life of the countryside in France. I kid. I kid! And probably because I know not its lack as there are quite a few stores nearby or relatively nearby that offer very decent selection of medjool dates.

  7. The food looks so delicious 🙂 I’d especially love to that that Dorado fish – it looks very similar to how my relatives in Italy prepare it.

    Glad to hear that you had an amazing dinner!

  8. Truly, thanks to Shukri, Bojana and Pericle, for sharing with us their Persian themed potluck event. Bojana’s ‘Persian (inspired) frozen orange blossom frozen yogurt’ must have filled the room with the sweet aroma of the blossom. I especially love the idea of the shredded halva shekari on the top. Thank you Azita for introducing these lovely people to us. 😀

  9. Such a coincidence that, on the day that I read this, I’ve been perfecting my own frozen dessert, although mine is an ice cream made with Dutch spices.
    For those of us who lack an ice cream churner, frozen yoghurt, like ice cream can be done without one. I remove it from the freezer every hour and whisk it smooth with my electric hand whisk. Yoghurt should be the right consistency after 2-3 churns, then left to freeze overnight. My ice cream will take 4-5 churns before freezing

    • Oh, how interesting! Now that’s a good concidence. Do you have a post in your archives detailing the process of hand churning? I’d love to read it.

      • I do. There is a handmade ice cream with photos if you are interested. I’ll be posting the Dutch spice ice cream soon, but I promised my brother in law that I would post a crumble recipe first!

  10. Pingback: Together Tea, Lucid Food, Shanameh and Persian Wine. Oh! My! | Fig & Quince

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