This is the best ice cream I’ve ever made and quite possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. I know that’s a bold statement to make, but I mean it. Ice cream is my favorite dessert, so I take making such proclamations very seriously. Pistachio ice cream has been one of my favorite flavors since I was in middle school, back when Blue Bell was the standard by which I judged all ice creams.
Homemade pistachio ice cream has been on my radar since I first started making ice cream. I was under the (false) impression that I wouldn’t be able to make it because there was no way to infuse the cream mixture with enough pistachio flavor. I was seriously mistaken, and this ice cream is proof. I was so tempted by Talenti pistachio gelato (which I’ve never tried, but I have had other flavors of theirs that are insanely good) that I knew I had to figure out a way to make a homemade version happen. As luck would have it, a picture of pistachio ice cream showed up in my Pinterest feed around the same time. Plus, summer is still in full swing here, which means it’s still prime ice-cream making season. Serendipitous? Probably not. However, it was just the inspiration I needed to finally make homemade pistachio ice cream a reality.
This ice cream is luscious and rich and is basically the stuff ice cream dreams are made of. You’ll notice that it lacks the perfect green color of store-bought pistachio ice cream, and that’s because it also lacks green food coloring and instead gets its gorgeous, slightly yellow hue from roasted pistachios. The recipe called for shaved chocolate to be mixed in after churning, but I used my favorite ice cream technique (one I picked up from The Perfect Scoop) and drizzled melted chocolate into the ice cream just as it finished churning (stracciatella). The result is tiny flecks of chocolate dispersed throughout the ice cream, and it is magical. If you’ve ever been left chewing a chocolate chip long after you finished a bite of ice cream, this technique will blow your mind.
I don’t see this ice cream being topped for a long time, so I’m going to need some inspiration for recipes to follow this one. What are your favorite ice cream flavors?
- YIELD: 1 quart
¾ cup unsalted roasted pistachio nuts
6 tablespoons whole milk, plus 1½ cups
1½ cups heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
Pinch of fine sea salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
Place the pistachios in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. With the motor running, drizzle in the 6 tablespoons of milk through the feed tube and process until a creamy paste forms, about 1 minute. You’ll still have small pieces of pistachios, and that’s okay.
Combine the remaining milk and cream in a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Cook until just barely simmering. Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Whisking constantly, gradually pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon or spatula.
Pour the mixture through a strainer set over a medium bowl, preferably one with a pour spout. Allow to cool slightly, then whisk in the pistachio paste. Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to chill completely.
Freeze in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. When the ice cream is nearly done churning, melt the chocolate either in a glass bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave. Drizzle the melted chocolate into the custard in a slow, steady stream, avoiding the mixing blade as best you can. Transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid, cover, and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.