Sweet Yogurt Sundae with Saffron and Pistachios Recipe

Sweet Yogurt Sundae with Saffron and Pistachios
Makes: 8 servings

Yogurt makes a simple and attractive sweet course or cooling treat. This version of sweetened yogurt from Bengal is called mishti doi, doi being Bengali for yogurt. The yogurt drains for an hour to lose its bitter whey and to thicken a little, then it is blended with jaggery (palm or crude sugar) and flavorings. Use good whole-milk yogurt, preferably organic. Serve in small bowls or tall sundae glasses, and top with pistachios, or with pomegranate seeds or chopped toasted almonds.

Serve for dessert, perhaps with cookies or biscotti. This is also a good brunch option, served with warm flatbreads.

This was featured as part of our 2007 Fruits of Fall story.

  • 1 quart plain full-fat yogurt
  • Generous 1/4 teaspoon saffron strands (optional)
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped jaggery (palm or crude sugar), or more to taste, or substitute honey or brown sugar
  • About 1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios, pomegranate seeds, or chopped toasted almonds
  1. Line a large sieve or colander with cheesecloth or coarse cotton. Wet the cloth with water, then place the sieve or colander over a bowl. Place the yogurt in the sieve to drain for 1 hour in the refrigerator.
  2. Turn the yogurt into a bowl and set aside. Use the whey for another purpose (it makes a refreshing drink and can also be used in place of lemon juice to curdle milk for making chhana and paneer) or discard.
  3. If using the saffron, lightly toast the strands in a small dry skillet over medium heat, until brittle. Add the milk and cardamom or nutmeg; or, if not using saffron, heat the milk and cardamom in a small saucepan, bring to a simmer, and simmer briefly, until the cardamom releases its scent (and the optional saffron gives off its color). Remove from the heat, and stir in the sugar or honey until dissolved.
  4. Whisk the mixture into the yogurt. Use a ladle to pour the yogurt into glasses or bowls. Top with a sprinkling of nuts or pomegranate seeds, and with a little more sugar if you wish.

Note: This can be served at room temperature or chilled.

Beverage pairing: Chapeau Banana Lambic, Belgium. Pairing beer with yogurt takes advantage of the slight tangy, sour notes found in each. This fruit beer combines the brightness of real banana with the mellowness of the malt base, which will delightfully play off the textures and flavors of the nuts, honey, and creaminess.

This recipe, while from a trusted source, may not have been tested by the CHOW food team.