Theres so much to say about the recipe, so many pointers and notes to take so it’s best to get right into it.
This cream is originally inspired by the arabic gheshta that is often used as filling for Atayef or other desserts. However, while making this and having a discussion about it with a friend, I was told that this will be so delicious that I will just want to spoon it onto bread and enjoy it like cream with honey.
My friend was absolutely right, when I made it for my Atayef then, I just wanted to eat it, and found it very hard to stop myself. Hence why I made a few changes and served it as cream on this occasion and wanted to share the recipe with you all. If this was to be used as Atayef filling then mixing nuts and cinnamon is a must.
Another point for consideration is the quality of the milky choose to use. I use organic full fat milk for this recipe every time, however, but I shop from various places and so this through testing resulted in different textures of cream.
Now why have I named it Sarshir and not Gheshta. Sarshir in Persian literally means the fat or solids that has been taken from fresh milk. This is usually made in the villages in Iran. When I made this after many attempts, my mum was actually by my side, when she saw the process and tasted the final product she instantly said ‘this is Sarshir’ and so this is what I named it. It also made more sense to me as gheshta made for Atayef has a few extra ingredients in it.
The more authentic the milk that you use, the less you need to squeeze the final cream in a cheese cloth. On this occasion I squeezed mine sightly too much which drained too much moisture and although the mascarpone gives it a softer creamier texture it still didn’t keep as well when refrigerated after a few days.
I have used lemon juice for this scientific project, however, I know that a lot of recipes call for citric acid. It is totally up to you which you choose to use, I just find lemon juice more convenient as lemons are a staple in most kitchens.
Homemade Cream – Persian Sarshir or Arabic Gheshta
Place the milk in a large pot over medium heat, add the sugar and cardamom and allow to become hot.
Just before it starts boiling and rising, turn the heat to the lowest setting, add the rose water or orange blossom and give it a mix.
Less than a minute later pour the lemon juice in the centre and using a large spoon from 4 corners of the pot fold the milk into the centre only once and remove the spoon.
Prepare a bowl with a sieve on top, with the cheese cloth in the sieve, after a minute or so using a large spoon, start to collect the solids and place in the cheese cloth resting in the sieve. Make sure all solids are collected.
Gently squeeze the cheese cloth to drain the liquid. Be mindful at this stage as squeezing too much of the moisture out can make the cream too dry and powdery.
As long as it's not dripping, place in a bowl and mix in the mascarpone until creamy and smooth.
Serve with crushed pistachios, honey, fresh bread or scones.