On holiday while studying in the middle east, I traveled to the Mediterranean city of Antalya, Turkey with friends. We visited Perga, and stared at the sky, and were awed by the slow beauty of it all. One morning, running on the stone-covered beach, I managed to stretch a quick jog into a 12 mile quest to reach the nearby mountains. Everything just seemed otherworldly.
And, the Falez hotel. Amidst the standard bellydancing and Turkish massages was the most extensive breakfast buffet I had ever seen. Each morning, I filled a plate with crepes, then covered it in pistachios, honey, and shredded coconut.
This dessert celebrates the rich flavors of Turkey*. Coconut Gelato is served over Crepes, then drizzled with Orange Blossom "Honey," and sprinkled with pistachios. The Gelato is simple, and you can use any vegan crepe recipe, to which I recommend tossing in a pinch of cardamom. The addition of orange blossom water to agave nectar creates an amber syrup with a surprising likeness to honey. Pistachios round out an otherwise very sweet combination of flavors.
*I can't attest to the dessert's authenticity, as my Turkish friends usually offer tea, ekmek (bread), and something containing copious amounts of potatoes.
makes 1 quart
2 14-ounce cans coconut milk (not low fat)
1 tablespoon agar flakes
1/2 cup water
2/3 cup evaporated cane juice or sugar (substitute agave nectar for a lower-glycemic option)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, for a creamier gelato)
Simmer the agar flakes in the 1/2 cup water until dissolved. Set aside.
In a blender, combine the coconut milk, sweetener, vanilla, and sea salt. Pass the agar mixture through a sieve into the blender, and blend again. Refrigerate until completely cool, about 1 hour. Blend again, adding the coconut oil if desired.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Without an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a shallow dish, whisking every 15 minutes, to make a coconut slush.
Orange Blossom "Honey"
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 teaspoons orange blossom water**
Stir together the agave and orange blossom water. Store in a jar at room temperature, or in the refrigerator.
**Orange blossom water can be found at most middle eastern groceries. Try substituting rosewater sometime, which adds an entirely different flavor dimension and compliments the coconut nicely.