Roshanak's Ferni

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Ferni, a Persian dessert, using aromatic flavors like orange blossom, pistachio and rose, was the first Roshanak ever learned from her aunt in Iran when she was 9 years old.  This simple to make, floral and very light milk pudding is thickened with rice flour.  It should be served chilled and can be made up to two days ahead of time.  I'd reckon a good one to try for gluten free folks.


4 cups cold whole milk
Scant ½ cup rice flour
¾ cup cold water
1 cup granulated sugar
1-2 tbps. orange blossom water*

Garnish: chopped pistachios and dried edible rose petals**


1. Place the cold milk in a large pot.

2. Whisk together cold water and rice flour until smooth.  Add the mixture to milk and whisk together.

3. Turn the heat to medium high.  Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the mixture thickens slightly.

4. Remove from heat and add the sugar and orange blossom water.  Place back on stove and continue to cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens and you see the mixture just begin to boil.  This mixture tends to scorch quickly so be sure to stir constantly and do not leave unattended.

5. Using your wooden spoon, test for doneness by dipping the spoon in the mix and running your finger over the backside of the spoon.  It’s done when the pudding holds the line.

6. Quickly transfer to a shallow serving bowl.  The mixture will begin to set immediately.  Carefully decorate the pudding with pistachios and rose petals.  You can garnish them rustically or in a decorative pattern.  Refrigerate at least 4 hours before serving.  The pudding should be served chilled.

Cook's Notes

*Orange blossom or a substitute of rose water may be used for this dessert.  We used 2 tbsp. for a very floral pudding, but you can use it more subtly with just one.

**Rose petals can be purchased in Middle Eastern stores or at