A Persian-inspired Orange Blossom Frozen Yogurt Dessert


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:

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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Comments (53)

  • Maria Dernikos 8 years ago Reply

    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.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    That IS a beautiful chest. What happened to yours?

    Maria Dernikos 8 years ago

    I had two, a big one and a small one. I had to sell them when I moved house 🙁 regret it a little.

  • polianthus 8 years ago Reply

    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!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    It really is rather sublime, isn’t it? I was so excited by the idea of sharing it!

    polianthus 8 years ago

    well a pleasure shared is a pleasure doubled! and if you couldn’t be there at least you had the vicarious joy of seeing the pics and writing about it! Great

  • Amanda 8 years ago Reply

    What a party! I love the pics and the description. Eating is serious business. Great photos and wow. I always greatly enjoy your posts, lovely Azita!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Amanda, when I saw the photos I HAD to add them here. Just had to! 🙂

  • What an amazing meal! The photos are wonderful, and it sounds like everyone had an amazing time. I have that Louise Shafiat book, I’m going to take a better look at it now! 🙂

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    I don’t have that book but I need to check it out as well. Thank you for visiting dear Celia!

  • The entire spread looks incredible! I’m sold on the dessert and will certainly be making it. Thanks!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Invite me please when you do! 😉

    No problem 🙂

  • Liz Posmyk of Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things 8 years ago Reply

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

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    It does look quite ravishing doesn’t it? I do want a spoon!

  • bonnieeng 8 years ago Reply

    Such a gorgeous post, love, love, love!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    love love love back! 😉

  • lapetitecasserole 8 years ago Reply

    Beautiful… I don’t how many time I’ve already used this adjective for my comments in you lovely blog! I wish I had been at that party…

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    thank you, you are sweet, and it always makes me feel good and filled with good feelings to hear it.

  • The Novice Gardener 8 years ago Reply

    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

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    I know, Angie, right? But I also know that your dinner parties must be the stuff of dreams as well.

  • ladyredspecs 8 years ago Reply

    I think not only you Azita, but all your readers have menu envy! I’ll just have to be happy with dessert, an absolute palate teaser!

  • apuginthekitchen 8 years ago Reply

    What a lovely party, everything looks and sounds delicious!

  • Everything looks absolutely divine – the food, the company, the warmth of the two combined.

  • Gather and Graze 8 years ago Reply

    Ohh to have been invited to this dinner party! Gorgeous in every way… thank you for sharing this with us all!

  • Susan Edelman 8 years ago Reply

    Beautiful and creative friends! Wonderful dinner!

  • Melissa Brody 8 years ago Reply

    A dinner of dreams it is! Everything looks amazingly divine. I wish I was a fly on the wall (with a big belly to fill, of course!). Your dessert is a great addition. Beautiful!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    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.

  • laurasmess 8 years ago Reply

    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

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    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

  • 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.

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    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.

  • vinoinlove 8 years ago Reply

    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!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    That dish does look particularly handsome to me. Very appetizing.

  • Sophie James 8 years ago Reply

    Really beautiful and evocative photos that have made me positively drool…:)

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    You should have seen the puddle at my feet! 🙂

  • chef mimi 8 years ago Reply

    Beautiful meal and beautiful people!

  • Sophie33 8 years ago Reply

    I would liked to have been there with you all, what a lovely feast for the eyes & mouth too! Yum Yum Yummm!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    If only life were made up of a series of events like this … then it would a yum yum yummy life

    Sophie33 8 years ago

    So true! x

  • tastytreats13 8 years ago Reply

    Oh what a fabulous meal!

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    Nodding! 🙂

  • Francesca 8 years ago Reply

    How come I didn’t get an invitation? 😉

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    I wasn’t invited either. Just reporting it! We need to throw a party like this. I did attend a dreamy one recently however that I remember with fond delight 😉

    Francesca 8 years ago

    I wonder who the host was … 😉

  • Fae's Twist & Tango 8 years ago Reply

    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. 😀

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    My pleasure Fae! It was an irresistible impulse!

  • ediblethings 8 years ago Reply

    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

    Fig & Quince 8 years ago Reply

    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.

    ediblethings 8 years ago

    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!

  • Ahhhh, so mouth watering!

  • afracooking 8 years ago Reply

    What a moutwatering feast! And that desert looks stunning! So glad to have stumbled across your blog!

  • […] Shaffia, drooling over every recipe, wanting to make every recipe (remember an earlier guest post, a gorgeous Persian dinner party where the host used recipes from Louisa’s […]

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