Rose & Saffron Ice Cream (with Cultures)

This incredibly beautiful, sensuous ice cream is an adaptation from the tradition Persian ice cream, and contains rose, saffron, and pistachios, as well as yogurt which enriches with healthy, live probiotics.  There are several steps to making this, but well worth the effort! Promise.

1 cup organic milk
1 cup organic heavy cream
6 Tablespoons organic sugar + 1 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon stevia leaf powder*
(Please see note on use of stevia and amount of sugar.)
Pinch sea salt
1 teaspoon saffron strands
3 Tablespoons rose water
1/4 cup organic rose petals or buds
3 egg yolks, from free-range or pastured chickens
1/2 cup full fat yogurt, unsweetened, plain
1/3 cup pistachios, unsalted
*Note on stevia: I use only the green powder form as it is least processed.  By adding in a tiny bit of stevia, the amount of sugar can be reduced
If you do not use stevia, add in 2 more Tabelspoons of sugar. 
(See end of post for sources of stevia, rose water, and saffron.)

Yileds: approximately 1 quart

Grind the saffron with sugar to a fine powder.

1. Pour the milk and cream into a pot.  Add in the sugar and stevia, if using; and pinch of salt.
2. Bring the mixture to a gentle simmer for about one minute, in order to melt the sugar.  Do not boil. Turn heat off.
3. In a mortar and pestle, place the saffron plus 1 teaspoon of sugar and grind to a fine powder.
4. Add the powdered saffron to the heated milk and cream.  Then add in the rose petals (if using) and the rose water. Stir well.
5. Allow this mixture to cool and store, covered, in the fridge.  The rose and saffron need to steep and mingle for at least 4 - 5 hours or overnight. So, please don't be in a hurry and skip this step. 
6. When the infusion is ready, remove from the fridge and strain into a heavy bottom pot. Bring to a gentle simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
7. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks in a bowl.
8. This step is very important, and will take about 10 minutes and your concentration, plus you cannot walk away.
   So you may want to pour yourself a cup of tea or wine.
   Pour about 1/2 cup of the heated mixture over the egg yolks and whisk well.  Then transfer the whisked yolks into the pot.

9. Using a wooden spoon, stir gently and constantly.  Be sure that the flame is on low.
    The mixture will thicken as you stir. (Sip you tea or wine.)
    Go on stirring, stirring, stirring until the mixture coats the back of the wooden spoon, and can hold a line when you run your finger across the spoon.  (See image.)
10. Once the mixture is ready, pour into a stainless steel bowl and set over an ice bath to cool it down.
12. When mixture is cooled, whisk in the yogurt, then stir in the pistachios.
13. Transfer to your ice cream maker and follow directions to churn into ice cream.
Store in a mason jar, in the freezer. That's if there's any left...