Pistachio Gelato

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July is National Ice Cream Month. As if I needed an actual excuse to eat more ice cream, I am embracing the holiday and bringing you a new ice cream recipe each Friday during the month of July to celebrate. And lucky for us, July has not four, but five Fridays this year. Woohoo! I also needed a good excuse to use my ice cream maker more often. Ironically, I used it more over the winter than I have so far this summer. I am kick-starting the month of ice cream with a Pistachio gelato. I’ve had this recipe in the back of my head for some time, for it was either after I received my ice cream maker or I found out I was no longer allergic to nuts that my Chief Culinary Consultant suggested I make pistachio ice cream. I never forgot, but just never got around to it. Me being lazy about ice cream? Totally ridiculous, and I needed to right this wrong.

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The first thing I did when searching for a pistachio ice cream recipe was, of course, to flip open The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. Surprisingly, it doesn’t have a regular pistachio ice cream recipe (although it does have a dried apricot and pistachio ice cream that looks wonderful!). So then, I Googled. I found this recipe from Chocolate & Zucchini that was adapted from a recipe that David actually provided on his blog. Called a gelato because it uses the traditional Sicilian technique of thickening the custard with cornstarch, rather than egg yolks, this is truly magnificent. Creamy, flavorful and a little crunch of pistachio in each bite. It makes me want to do nothing but sit at a sidewalk cafe in Italy and eat gelato all summer long!

If you can’t imagine ice cream without a true-to-form, egg-based custard, then I would recommend this recipe from Use Real Butter. It’s very similar to the one below, except that it uses egg yolks to thicken the custard.

What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

More frozen goodness:
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream
Chocolate Espresso Semifreddo

Don’t forget! If you’re dying to make homemade ice cream and cursing yourself for not having an ice cream maker, head straight to this tutorial on how to make homemade ice cream without an ice cream maker!

Pistachio Gelato

Yield: 3 cups

Prep Time: 30 minutes (active) 8 hours (inactive)

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours

Ingredients:

1¼ cup untoasted, unsalted, shelled pistachios
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 cups whole milk, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon Amaretto

Directions:

1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender, combine the pistachios and sugar and process in short pulses until the mixture is reduced to a fine powder. Set aside.

2. In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch, and stir with a spoon to dissolve. Set aside.

3. Combine the rest of the milk (1¾ cups) with the pistachio mixture in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring continuously as the mixture thickens. The custard is ready when it coats the wooden spoon, and you can trace a path on the back of the spoon with your finger.

5. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.

6. Stir in the honey and liquor and whisk to blend. Let cool to room temperature on the counter, whisking occasionally to prevent a skin from forming. Cover and refrigerate until completely chilled (overnight is best).

7. Whisk the chilled custard, and churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.

*If you don't wish to use liquor, you can substitute lemon or lime juice. This will help keep the gelato soft and scoopable in the freezer.

(Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini, which was adapted from David Lebovitz)