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.
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.
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.