Pistachio Ice Cream – Real pistachios are ground and mixed into an ice cream base to make a nutty, creamy treat that will satisfy all taste buds
Happy 4th of July! And also happy beginning of National Ice Cream Month! July marks a whole month of frozen treats here at CPA. Today we begin with one of my favorite ice cream flavors of all time. That’s right – we’re starting off big!
Today’s recipe is for Pistachio Ice Cream. So simple but incredibly flavorful. I love pistachio ice cream so much because of the simple nutty flavor. It’s more mild than peanuts but a little more complex than almonds – although they are quite similar.
And if you think it takes a lot of effort to make this ice cream, prepared to be amazed! It comes together in just a few simple steps. But you will need an ice cream machine. This is the one I’ve been using for years. It does the job right.
Without further ado, here is my Pistachio Ice Cream!
Making the ice cream base
This ice cream base is made with egg yolks to thicken it up while ensuring the ice cream remains creamy when it freezes. But first, the base needs to cook to pasteurize the base and get it slightly thick.
To do this, the milk, half the cream, pistachios, sugar, and salt are added to a 3-quart sauce pan and heated over medium until it’s steaming. It’s removed from heat and left to sit for 1 hour to steep the pistachio flavor into the mixture.
After 1 hour, the mixture is reheated and then strained to remove large chunks of pistachios. It is then slowly added to a bowl with the egg yolks. This will slowly heat up the yolks before we place them over direct heat. The mixture is then transferred back to the saucepan and heated slowly over medium heat until it reached 170 degrees.
The mixture finished by adding the last cup of heavy cream and the almond extract and stirred together until it cools down. It’s covered and then chilled in the refrigerator until super cold, about 4-6 hours.
Freezing the ice cream
Once the ice cream is chilled, it’s time to freeze the ice cream base. To do this, follow the instructions on your ice cream machine. It will probably take about 15 minutes to freeze the base so that it’s firm, yet creamy. Once it reaches that consistency, it is transferred to a storage container and chilled until firm, about 8 hours.
Tips & Tricks
- Grind pistachios. Before using the pistachios in this recipe, grind them up in a food processor until a paste forms.
- Use a thermometer. To ensure the ice cream base doesn’t cook too long, use a thermometer to monitor the temp. It should only cook to 170 degrees.
- Temper the yolks. Before adding the yolks to the hot milk, they need to be tempered to ensure they don’t scramble. To do this, slowly add the hot milk to the whisked egg yolks. Then, you can add them back to the saucepan and over medium heat.
- Chill ice cream base. Before the ice cream base is added to the ice cream machine, it must be chilled. Otherwise, the ice cream will form large ice crystals during the process – or even worse, it won’t even freeze.
Pistachio Ice Cream
- 1 cup milk whole
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pistachios finely ground to a paste
- 5 large egg yolks
- ¼ teaspoon almond extract
- Place milk, 1 cup of cream, sugar, salt, and ground pistachios in a medium sauce pan. Heat until the mixture is steaming, but not boiling. Remove from heat and cover for 1 hour to let the pistachios steep in the milk.
- Once mixture has steeped for 1 hour, place saucepan back over heat so it's steaming again. Remove from heat. Whisk egg yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Very slowly whisk in warm milk. Transfer mixture back to saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir constantly until mixture begins to thicken and is between 168-170 degrees. Mixture should coat the back of the spatula. Remove from heat immediately so the mixture doesn't scramble.
- Place remaining heavy cream in a large bowl and place strainer over bowl. Pour thickened yolk mixture through strainer to remove lumps and large chunks of pistachios. Stir with cream and almond extract to cool the mixture down.
- Chill mixture in the refrigerator until completely cold, about 4-6 hours. Once chilled, ice cream base is ready for your machine. Freeze ice cream according to machine instructions. Transfer to storage container and freeze until firm, about 6-8 hours.