Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Pistachio Ice Cream - The Real Deal

We've been having some lovely warm sunny days lately. Sure we still get the odd cold rainy day but it's definitely beginning to feel like a beautiful summer is just around the corner. I even have the beginnings of a jandal tan. For me even though I "slip, slop, slap" the tan I get from living in my jandals is inevitable (and welcome). It's a nice reminder that it's finally summer. So while my jandle-tan is still a work in progress I thought I should get to work on my ice cream making skills, because for me summer and ice cream go hand in hand (quite literally).

Ice cream is quite a fun thing to make from scratch, and easier than you might think. It's an especially good skill to have if you're a fan of natural ice creams. Pistachio is one of my favourite flavours of ice cream, but I've been totally put off buying it from commercial outlets because they're often full of artificial flavours (not to mention colours) and end up tasting like poo (not that I know what that tastes like). I just really hate that artificial pistachio flavour, it's so in-your-face and lacks all the subtlety and deliciousness of the real deal. Sure a homemade version may not look as pretty (I guess you could add a few drops of green food colouring if you like) but you'll be totally rewarded with a creamy ice cream that sings with the yummy perkiness of real pistachio. You don't even need an ice cream maker to get good results, this recipe works well when made by hand. Handy if you're gadget-less like me.


125g shelled pistachios

150g caster sugar

350ml milk

150ml cream (just regular whipping cream)

5 egg yolks, lightly beaten


First you want to roast the pistachios, this will give them extra flavour. To do this, sprinkle the pistachios onto a roasting tray then roast them in a preheated oven (180 Celsius) for 5-10 minutes until just golden. Leave them to cool then blend them with the sugar in a food processor. You want the texture to be quite fine. You can even grind them by hand (this is what I do) in a pestle and mortar. I quite recommend grinding by hand because while you'll get the majority ground to a fine texture it's still nice to have a few bigger chunks in amongst the mix, rather than having a uniform fine grade. Anywayyy, after processing, transfer this mixture to a bowl.

Heat the milk and cream to boiling point in a saucepan, then pour over the ground pistachio mixture, stir and leave to cool. Cover then refrigerate overnight. This will let the flavour infuse.

The next day, heat up the pistachio cream to boiling point. Pour this over the egg yolks, mix then return to pan. Stir over a gentle heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. This means that when you dunk a spoon into your pan, pull it out and run your finger down the back of the spoon, if the mixture does not run and the little path you have drawn holds its shape then it's thick enough.

Next, chill the mixture. I like to do this by letting the pan sit in a bowl filled with ice, this cools it quickly before chilling it further in the fridge. Next, transfer the mixture to a suitable container for freezing and pop it in the freezer. It will take about 5-6 hours to freeze. I like to give it a good stir every hour or half hour until it's too hard to stir anymore. This helps beat air into the mixture, and improves the consistency.

Handmade ice cream tends to freezer harder, so soften the mixture at room temperature for about 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4