To a heavy bottom pan on medium heat, add whole milk. Let it heat up for 4 to 5 minutes and then add heavy cream to it.
Stir and let the milk come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil around 15 minutes time, lower the heat to low-medium. Stir every 5 minutes or so and let the milk simmer on low-medium heat for 30 minutes. Remember to use a heavy bottom pan and stir often else milk will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.
After 30 minutes, the milk would have reduced a lot. It's color will also change, from white to a little cream in color. Now add milk powder and stir.
Also add sugar and and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Cook 5 minutes stirring often. Add cardamom powder and mix. Use fresh cardamom powder for best results.
Then add in ground pistachios (I took some raw pistachios and ran them in a spice/nut grinder to get this powder) and stir. This is optional, if you don't want nuts in kulfi, simply skip this.
Add in the rose water. Stir and cook 5-10 more minutes
Finally, add in the rose syrup. Stir, cook 1 minute and remove pan from heat. You can also add some pink food color at this point if you want, I did not add any. The total time taken from the time milk started boiling was 45 minutes and the total time from where I added the milk to the pan to the last step was around 1 hour. We started with 1 liter milk + 1/4 cup cream (60 ml). At the end, the milk was reduced to around 400 ml.
Let the kulfi mixture cool down and then transfer to kulfi molds or any container you want to freeze the kulfi in. I have used 3 oz paper cups here. It's easier to freeze in these, since to de-mold, you just have to peel the paper.
Cover each cup with a small piece of aluminum foil. Stick a wooden stick in the center and freeze overnight. Before freezing, if you want you can add some dried rose petals on top of the kulfi and then freeze.
To de-mold, I simply peeled the paper since I used paper cups but if using a kulfi mold, place it under warm water for few minutes and then gently pull using the wooden stick, it will come out. Enjoy Rose Kulfi immediately!
If you choose to skip the rose syrup, add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon extra rose water. Also add 1 tablespoon extra sugar in that case.
This kulfi is lightly sweetened, add 1-2 tablespoons extra sugar for sweeter kulfi.
This recipe makes 5-6 small kulfis, if you freeze in bigger molds, it will make less servings.
The most important thing in making kulfi from scratch is to use a heavy bottom pan and stir often. It takes time for the milk to reduce, if you use a light pan, the milk will stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. So, make sure to use a heavy bottom pan.
Always make sure to keep the heat on low-medium once the milk comes to a boil. The milk needs to slowly reduce and get thick.
If you want your kulfi to look more pink, add few drops of pink food color to it.