June 18, 2014

Ab-Haveej Bastani - Persian Carrot Juice and Saffron Ice Cream Float

Summertime is officially upon us and a آب هویج و بستنی  ab-haveej bastani (carrot juice ice cream float) is the perfect way to cool down on a hot day. Carrot juice is refreshing, healthy and a great source of vitamin A all on its own. I initially made this recipe with plain vanilla ice cream but then decided to change it up for the next batch and make it with scoops of saffron ice cream instead. The addition of a little bit of saffron and a hint of rosewater greatly enhances the flavor and aroma of this treat. Carrots may have been around for hundreds of years but this recipe is relatively modern. I'm not certain about the exact origin of this recipe but it seems to me that this is a different take on the European cafe glace (coffee with ice cream float) that became popular in the 1960's in Iran. I remember on one of our trips to my grandmother's house in Tehran, my sister took me to the upscale Chattanooga restaurant and that's where I had my first cafe glace. On the other hand, it's also quite possible that ab haveej bastani recipe was created by some ingenious Iranian chef in the past. It's been thought that by tapping into the collective consciousness people from different parts of the world may come up with the same results at the same time!

In our home carrot juice was served regularly and we all had to drink it whether we liked it or not and each time we were reminded that carrots are good for us and that they would improve our vision. Our juicer was archaic and pretty much a nightmare to clean. However, that wouldn't stop my mother from juicing almost anything frequently.

زردک - Zardak meaning "the little yellow one" (wild carrots) go back about 5,000 years in Iran, Afghanistan and the neighboring lands. Zardak (yellow carrots) are sill cultivated mostly in the region of Isfahan in Iran but they are not as common and popular as haveej farangi (western carrots). Carrots are a staple in our home all year long and are on my list of foods to always keep in the fridge and luckily they are readily available in markets year round. The in season carrots, however, are more flavorful, tender and sweet. Carrots are a  versatile vegetable that complement many recipes and are delicious when eaten raw, tossed into a summertime saladsalad oliviehsoup e jo, pickled or made into a delicious carrot halva. They are also great eaten alone or with a dip.

Carrot Juice and Saffron Ice Cream Float

Serves 2

10 large carrots (preferably organic), washed and tops removed
Vanilla ice cream, (16 ounces)
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron dissolved in 3 tablespoons hot water
1 tablespoon rosewater
1 tablespoon crushed pistachios


  1. Leave the ice cream out to soften. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the ice cream, liquid saffron, rosewater and mix well. Return ice cream back to freezer for 3-4 hours or until firm.
  2. Place your serving glasses in freezer to chill for 5 minutes.
  3. Juice the carrots. Add 2 scoops of saffron ice cream to each glass, pour the carrot juice over the ice cream, sprinkle with crushed pistachios and serve immediately.