Jul 27, 2011

Dondurma~ aka Turkish Ice Cream

Dondurma is the Turkish word for ice cream. Turkish dondurma though, is different from the ice cream we eat here in America due to special ingredients that make the ice cream "chewy" and more resistant to melting. Dondurma is made from milk (usually goats milk), sugar, and two added ingredients which create it's unique texture and flavor: salep flour, made from the the dried tubers of wild Orchids, and mastic, a resin obtained from the Mastic tree. As this special ice cream mixture is frozen and churned by hand or machine, it develops into a dense, elastic mass similar to the way bread dough is kneaded to develop it's gluten and form an elastic dough. The final product is so firm that it is served with a specialized paddle and is often eaten with a knife and fork. If you click on this link, you'll see some amazing pictures of this unique ice cream. (It takes a minute to load, but don't give up, the pictures are worth the wait.)

The most popular dondurma is the maras dondurma from the Kahramanmaras region which is said to contain more salep than usual. Vanilla dondurma is said to be the favored flavor, although it is also said to not really taste that much like vanilla.

Controversy surrounds the production of salep dondurma since the wild Orchids from which the salep flour is made are being used up faster than they can grow. Export of salep flour from Turkey has been banned and the flour is used exclusively within Turkey other than that which is smuggled out.

Another unique characteristic of dondurma is the way it is sold by street vendors. Traditionally, vendors play games and tricks on their customers as they serve the dondurma. The following is a video of a Turkish dondurma vendor having some fun with a customer.

Sources: Wikipedia  New York Times  Turkish Cooking Everyday   Cooking Issues

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