I have always loved pistachios. They are my favorite nut (rivaled only by macadamias), but I have never really cooked or baked with them. I was happy enough to simply snack on them. All that changed when I spotted some Pistachio Gelato and Sunflower Farmer’s Market. Sure I’ve seen pistachio ice cream before, but this was the real deal. Ingredients: whole milk, pistachio paste, sugar. The end. No pistachio “flavoring.” And it was incredible! The whole family loved it and decided it was a must buy again treat.
The problem? I haven’t seen it since. Maybe it was the whole pistachio recall. Maybe they stopped carrying that flavor. I don’t know, but that set me in mission mode. My mission, should I chose to accept it – and I did, was to create my own creamy, smooth pistachio gelato at home.
Shelling all those pistachios was a bit labor intensive in a tedious sort of way. And also because I couldn’t help but eat 2 out of every 3 that I shelled. That said, it was a great task to keep little kid hands busy when they otherwise would be getting into trouble. Little kid hands that belong to Logan.
The flavor was great and was just what I was looking for. Rather than spend $20 plus shipping on pistachio paste, I tried to make my own. It wasn’t as silky smooth, but I didn’t mind the little bits of nuts in the gelato (though Logan didn’t quite appreciate the mixed textures).
adapted from David Lebovitz
- 1 c shelled pistachios
- 1/2 c sugar
- 3 c milk
- 1/2 c sugar
- 2 Tbs cornstarch
- 1/2 tsp lemon zest
Grind the pistachios in a food processor until fine, almost powder. Add 1/2 c sugar and continue to grind until it becomes smoother and holds together – play dough like consistency, though a bit more grainy.
Combine half of milk, 1/2 c sugar, and lemon zest in a medium saucepan. Whisk until smooth. Heat milk over medium heat. At almost boiling, whisk in the cornstarch. Continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes, until thickened. Turn off heat and add remaining milk and pistachio paste.
Chill in refrigerator, after which proceed with your ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.