Persian Saffron Pudding

Vegan Dessert Recipe with Saffron, Pistachios and Orange Blossom Syrup


This exotic golden dessert is a fusion of two traditional Persian treats– sholeh-zard, a sweet rice pudding made with saffron and other spices, and fereni dagh, a smooth, sweet pudding made with rice flour, rosewater and spices. Combining the flavors of sholeh-zard with the smooth texture of fereni dagh produces an absolutely lovely dessert. The addition of a floral orange blossom syrup really puts it over the top. Floral waters are well suited to sweet desserts and can really add a special essence;  People absolutely love this pudding!


Exotic yet simple gluten free, dairy free, vegan dessert recipe with saffron, pistachios and orange blossom syrup. Make-ahead dessert.


Pudding Ingredients

  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups water divided
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 12 whole green cardamom pods
  • 1/2 tsp saffron use a good quality, expensive saffron; Iranian or Spanish is best. The cheap stuff has no flavor!
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt

Orange Blossom Syrup Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp orange blossom water
  • Shelled pistachios, garnish
  • Black or golden raisins, garnish
  • Saffron threads, optional garnish (same note as above)


Recipe Notes

You will also need: Medium saucepan, small bowl, mesh strainer, large mixing bowl, small saucepan, dessert dishes



  1. To make the pudding: In a small dish, combine the cinnamon stick, star anise, cardamom pods, saffron and turmeric and cover with 1/4 cup hot water to bloom the spices.
  2. In a medium saucepan combine coconut milk, water, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and slowly whisk in the rice flour until smooth.
  3. Add the dish of spices and stir until thoroughly combined. Cook for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from heat and transfer to a mesh strainer set over a large mixing bowl. Push through with a spoon or spatula to remove any whole spices.
  5. Divide pudding evenly between 4-6 dishes and refrigerate to cool before serving.
  6. To make orange blossom syrup: Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The syrup will thicken upon standing.
  7. To assemble, top the pudding with a few pistachios and raisins, then drizzle with the orange blossom syrup. If you’re feeling extra fancy you can also garnish with a few saffron threads.