This has such a definite flavour (you might recognise it from Turkish delight). I love it on its own, or served alongside a sweet dessert such as the yoghurt cake with rose water. I have a friend in Cyprus who always chews mastika, which she buys in small flat squares, instead of chewing gum. It is unscented and unsweetened; if you are serving it on its own you could add some other flavourings such as a few drops of rose water or a liqueur. Mastika is sold in crystals and I use a small coffee or spice-grinder to make it into a powder. It gives the ice cream a wonderful, almost chewy, texture and is good when you want a slightly less sweet accompaniment.
Put the mastika with a teaspoon or so of the sugar into a small grinder and grind to a fine powder. Heat the milk with the remaining sugar and ground mastika, stirring (or whisking) until it comes to the boil, so that it has completely dissolved. Remove from the heat. Let it cool a bit, whisking now and then, and then mix in the cream. Transfer to a bowl, cover and put in the freezer.
After an hour, remove the bowl from the freezer, give an energetic whisk with a hand whisk or electric mixer and return the bowl to the freezer. Whisk again after another couple of hours. When it is nearly firm, give one last whisk, transfer to a suitable freezing container with a lid and let it set in the freezer until it is firm.
Alternatively, pour the mixture into your ice-cream machine and freeze, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
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