Say what you like about gelato or frozen custard; if you ask me, there's no better ice cream than kulfi. We used to buy it from pushcart vendors on sweltering afternoons in Mumbai, India. Made in flavors like saffron, ** pistachio**, cardamom, and rose water, kulfi has a dense, creamy texture and a rich taste that come from the traditional way of preparing it. What makes kulfi so thick and luscious, and what makes it slower to melt than most styles of ice cream, is that it isn't churned to incorporate air; instead, milk is slowly simmered until it reduces to become as thick as heavy cream. This takes patience and a strong arm; you have to stir continuously while the milk sugars are caramelizing. (Those caramelized sugars give kulfi its deep, almost toasty flavor.) Then the milk is poured into conical molds and frozen. Sometimes you eat it on a stick and sometimes just cradled in a banana leaf. Nowadays we can find great commercially made kulfi near our home in Northern California, but it usually comes in pint-size cardboard containers. When we want a more authentic experience, we make our own kulfi using traditional aluminum molds we found in Mumbai. —Khaja Zafarullah and Reema Mewar, Belmont, California

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