I don’t know what it is about pistachios that I like. Or that people in general like so much that they are willing to pay the large price demanded for silly little bags. So here’s a bit of trivia about the pistachio: its originally from Iraq/Iran and has been a food source since 6750BC. The pistachio was supposedly grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon around 700 BC, so its seen some history and been part of an ancient wonder of the world. Impressive. Also, human studies have shown that 32-63 grams per day of pistachio nut can significantly elevate plasma levels of lutein, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and gamma-tocopherol. No idea what that mans, but hey. It sounds impressive.
Its pretty much a typical ice cream recipe, consisting of a custard made with cream, milk, egg yolks and sugar. Lots of gentle stirring while the eggy, bubbly mixture slowly turns into a velvety, rich base which could really be used for any ice cream flavour. Just a hint, the mixture expands a lot once the egg yolk mixture has been added to the hot creamy milk, so use a big saucepan to avoid you having to switch over half way through cooking like I did. Its messy. But worth it.
The roasted, pureed pistachios are added to the custard and the the mix is sieved to smooth it out a bit. It is still a slightly coarse mixture, but with that amount of nuts in it, that isn’t surprising. And I liked the slight texture sensation. It is a gorgeous creamy, nutty ice cream. The only thing I might change next time is that amount of the sugar. I do think it could be dialled back some. Maybe from 400g to 350g, or even 300g. Next time…
Pistachio Ice Cream
What you will need:
200g unsalted shelled pistachios
400g caster sugar, plus an extra 80g
700ml full-cream milk
300ml double cream
10 large eggs, yolks only (freeze the whites in a couple of batches and use them for meringues)
What to do:
Roast the pistachios by putting them into a dry frying pan over a medium to low heat. Watch them carefully and shake the pan so that the pistachios brown very lightly on all sides. Don’t let them burn.
Put the roasted pistachios into a food processor with 80g of sugar and pulse-chop them as finely as possible.
In a large thick-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk and cream to just below boiling point (you will see bubbles beginning to form at the very edges of the pan). Remove from the heat.
Put the egg yolks and 400g of sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for about 8 minutes, until pale and thick and doubled in volume. Wash the saucepan (this is to remove any milk residue that might be a bit scorched).
Add the warm milk and cream to the egg and sugar mix, beating on the lowest speed.
Return this custard mixture to the clean thick-bottomed pan and cook slowly over a very gentle heat until it coats the back of a spoon; this will take at least 15 boring but worth it minutes.
Remove the custard from the heat, stir in the pistachio paste, and then pour and rub the whole thing through a fine sieve into a bowl.
Leave to cool, then churn in an ice cream machine (in two batches if necessary, as it was for me) until frozen.