Saffron, cardamom, honey, pistachios and pomegranate seeds mixed with yogurt? Yoplait is a long way from ever putting out this flavor. As I ate this for breakfast, I thought of how rarely I, and other Americans, eat sweets so…floral.
In the Middle East and South Asia, saffron and rosewater are common in desserts. Orange blossom and lavender are also less familiar here as they are in other countries. These ingredients, along with spices like cardamom, are so much more aromatic than anything popular in the U.S. (Mashti Malone’s Iranian ice cream shop in Los Angeles, aside.)
But if you’d like to taste something deliciously different, try this yogurt. It’s an example of harmony in flavors you might not find often.
Sweet Cardamom Yogurt with Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds
Adapted from Mangoes and Curry Leaves by Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid. The authors suggest this as dessert or as part of brunch. I found it a bit sweet for breakfast, so I reduced the honey measurement, but sweeten it to your tastes.
- 1 quart plain yogurt (thick Greek yogurt is good for this)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads (original recipe says optional)
- 1/3 cup whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (recipe suggests freshly grated nutmeg as an alternative)
- 1/4 cup honey, or to taste (recipe calls for 1/3 cup finely chopped jaggery or brown sugar)
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios (or chopped toasted almonds, recipe says)
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
The recipe calls for the yogurt to be strained through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a bowl for an hour in the refrigerator. I used Greek yogurt which is already quite thick, so I skipped the step.
In a small skillet over medium heat, lightly toast the saffron. Add the milk and cardamom (or nutmeg). Simmer briefly, until the cardamom releases its scent and saffron gives off its color. (My saffron was old or weak because it didn’t change the color much.)
Remove from the heat, and stir in honey (or sugar) until dissolved. Mix liquid into yogurt.
Serve portions, and top with pistachios and pomegranate seeds.