Saturday, June 24, 2023

Pistachio Gelato/Ice Cream


When I'm in Italy, pistachio gelato is one of my top favorites. It looks nothing at all like the fake-green pistachio ice cream you get in the U.S, but it is a more muted green or even beige-y colored. The pistachio gelato in the photo (or ice cream if you want to call it that) was made with no artificial coloring or flavoring, but was made using  a jar of pistachio paste I brought back from a recent trip to Sicily. If Italy isn't in your immediate travel plans, you can buy pistachio paste online from many sources, although I can't vouch for any particular brand. Just make sure you buy pistachio paste or cream containing all natural ingredients.

I started with a recipe for pistachio ice cream from The New York Times, but changed the proportion of milk to cream (more cream, less milk) and amped up the flavor with some Amaretto liqueur and almond flavoring. It doesn't make it taste like almond ice cream, but somehow makes the pistachio more pistachio-y. The texture is similar to gelato you get in Italy, partly due the creaminess of the pistachio paste. Don't skip the liqueur either. Not only does it add flavor, but the alcohol keeps the ice cream scoopable. If you haven't got Amaretto (or pistachio liqueur if you can find it), even a little vodka or kirsch will do the trick.

After mixing all the ingredients, following your ice cream manufacturers instructions to churn. Then place in the freezer for a few hours or overnight to firm enough for scooping. Sprinkle with a few pistachios on top to serve.

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Pistachio Gelato/Ice Cream

printable recipe here

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

⅔ cup sugar

⅛ teaspoon fine sea salt

6 large egg yolks

1 cup pistachio paste

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 Tablespoons Amaretto liqueur


In a small pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar and salt until sugar completely dissolves, about 5 minutes.

Remove pot from heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk yolks.

Whisking constantly, slowly whisk about a third of the hot cream into the yolks, then whisk the yolk mixture back into the pot with the cream.

Return pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer).

Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.

Whisk in pistachio paste, almond extract and Amaretto liqueur.

Cool mixture to room temperature.

Cover and chill at least 4 hours or overnight.

Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions.

Freeze until firm enough to scoop.

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