Pistachio Ice Cream

It’s the undeniable truth…..summer is almost over.  And with the recent passing of the Labor Day holiday (and the “unofficial” last day of summer), I feel some anxiety about squeezing every last drop out of the final summer days ahead.

I feel like summer just whizzed right by this year leaving me with a “wait….where’d the time go” feeling.  I don’t recall ever having a summer fly by so quickly.  I have no control over the situation or time for that matter…..I wish I could slow it down.  At least enough to enjoy a bowl of my sweet (but not so sweet) Pistachio Ice Cream.

I’ve been playing with ice cream for most of the summer, trying to perfect my custard base to make it easier to create new flavors.  I think this one turned out the best by far….much less custard and more creamy with less sweetness letting the pistachios work their magic.  I also love the crunch from larger pieces of nuts so I processed half the nuts with the sugar until they were ground fine and then threw in the other half and pulsed the processor a few times just to chop them up a bit.

I bought whole, roasted, unsalted pistachios….if you can find them, save yourself a lot of time and buy them shelled.  It’s a little more expensive but the way the hours fly by lately….your time is priceless.  Pay the extra few bucks and spend some time doing something else. Like savoring the last few warm days before winter sneaks up on you!

Pistachio Ice Cream

Slightly adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 cup unsalted shelled pistachios

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 1/2 cups whole milk

4 cups heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon almond extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Finely grind 1/2 cup of the pistachios and 1/2 cup of the sugar in a food processor, being careful not to turn the mixture into butter. Add the remaining pistachios and pulse 3-4 times to chop up the nuts. Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a large saucepan and then remove from heat.

Combine the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs and sugar together until it becomes pale yellow in color.  Slowly whisk 1 1/2 cups of the milk mixture into the eggs. Gradually add the egg mixture to the hot cream in a saucepan whisking constantly to ensure the eggs do not scramble.  Cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Remove from the heat and strain into a large bowl. Add the pistachio mixture, almond extract and vanilla extract, stirring to combine. Cover with plastic wrap (be sure to press down against the surface so a skin doesn’t form) and chill in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

Remove from the refrigerator and pour into the bowl of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  transfer to an airtight container and freeze until ready to serve.

Makes 2 1/2 quarts.

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