Mar 19, 2008

My favourite thing with ice cream...


Along with the colourful sweets I had received from Syria (posted about just recently), I also received amazing delicious snowballs of "ghazl al banat". Ghazl al banat is Arabic, and it means something along the lines of "girl hair locks". It's very very similar, if not even identical, to the maybe more reknown "Pashmak" from Iran. So whether we are referring to Ghazl al banat or Pashmak, the easiest way to understand them is that they are a sort of cotton candy from the Middle East except that... well...

1) They don't come in gigantic volumes around a wooden stick (but rather come packed in small plastic bags) (sometimes the packaging is quite amusing too, you can see my previous post here)

and

2) The taste and texture is very different to the "Western world" cotton candy, and in this I mean that Ghazl al banat/Pashmak is way silkier and has a nuttier taste (because one of the principle ingredients is sesame oil) .
This is what ghazl al banat looks like...


Very often topped off with almonds and pistachios...


All nice and bundled before it goes POOF!

and becomes something like 3-4 times bigger then it's initial size...

I'm not sure if people ever use it as a "topping" to anything- most of the time I notice people just eat ghazl al banat on its own... but I've always LOVED topping it off on ice cream! It adds an interesting look to ice cream, and the blend of textures is like a delicious experimentation in your mouth!

Because of it's nutty flavour, I thought it would be best to serve it with pistachio ice cream. I love serving this when we have friends or family over because it has a special "wow" effect and on top of all that takes less then 10 seconds to add a distinctive touch to a scoop of ice cream.

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12 comments:

Pixie said...

What a way to make ice cream stand out! They're so fluffy, I would likely stay playing around with it four hours before delving into the ice cream.

Thanks for passing by and great tip about cannoli rods- now I can make more than 3 at a time. Which could only be a good thing right?

(great blog too btw!)

linda said...

I love the look of pashmak, also one of the ingredients I'm trying to locate ;) I've never eaten it though but I am curious. Have seen it sometimes on the internet used as a topping for dessert but up till now not on ice cream. Pistachio seems like a delicious flavour combo with the pashmak.

Patricia Scarpin said...

This is completely new to me, Marianna - it looks so beautiful!

Cenk said...

Delicious combination! We call it "pishmaniye" in Turkish and I think it usually referred to as floss helva in US (which is weird because it tastes nothing like helva).

Trudy said...

I've never heard of ghazl al banat before. It looks like it's got such an intriguing texture, and I could imagine pistachio ice cream would complement it beautifully.

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Oh my word! I wish I could get hold of that ghazl al banat stuff - I love those kind of flavours, and the texture looks like a whole bunch of fun! Pistachio ice cream is definitely the way to go with it...

Marianna said...

Thank you all for stopping by and for your comments!
I personally think that pistachio is the best ice cream flavour to match up ghazl al banat with (or any nutty flavoured ice cream!)

Ginger M. said...

Very pretty as a topping. Is it as sweet as cotton candy?

Laurie Constantino said...

Interesting and educational post. Plus looking at your ice cream made me jump up and start making pistachio frozen yogurt. I'm listening to it churn while I type... Thanks!

michelle @ TNS said...

i think i would totally ignore the ice cream!

okay, that wouldn't happen, but this looks super interesting. it sounds way better than cotton candy, which i've always thought was vile.

Anonymous said...

Oh it's not really cotton candy. Cotton candy is spun sugar, this is spun honey. In Egypt we call this 7alawit sha3r and we call normal cotton candy ghazl il banat :D

Anonymous said...

Sorry you're right, it is sugar! I had to call my Egyptian mama and ask. We eat this candy called 3asaliyya made from honey and it tastes JUST like this so that's why I got confused!

GREAT pictures though, love them!