So, I hope you’re riding that pistachio gravy train Chitlins because I’m bringing you another recipe. But I promise, it’ll be the last one for awhile (mostly because I can’t think of anything else to make with pistachios, except for pudding. BRB jotting that down). Okay, anyway. I adore pistachio ice cream. I wasn’t always this way, I really didn’t like anything with nuts when I was growing up. My idea of a wild ice cream flavor was “crazy vanilla,” which I only learned was different colored vanillas when I was about, oh…16.
Yeah, I was that kind of child. I’m not sure when that all changed, but I do remember this amazing pistachio and cardamom ice cream I used to eat in India when I studied abroad. I’m fairly certain that besides the almond paste candy with the edible silver, that was the sole reason I gained 25lbs while abroad. It’s not a pretty thought, but it was mighty delicious.
Last summer The BF and I drove up to Maine to go canoeing down the Saco river with a bunch of friends. (I promise this story is related, hear me out). There was a horrendous thunderstorm as we were driving and at one point I could not even try to see the road in front of me, and believe me I tried pretty hard. Like, chest pressed up to the steering wheel, squinty eyes hard. Thankfully The BF with his eagle-eye vision noticed we were right by the Friendly’s we stop at on our drives up to Vermont.
I did the slowest cut-off-lane-change in the history of driving, like 10 mph, and squeaked onto the exit ramp. We pulled into Friendly’s, booked it inside and were immediately drenched. I looked like a drowned rat. It was awks. We settled down for what turned out to be one of our more entertaining meals. The server managing the section next to ours was just godawful. Friendliest woman in the room, but chatty beyond all reason and completely bonkers.
I think at one point we were even taking bets to see which one of her customers would get frustrated enough to just leave and/or eat their ice cream sundae with their hands. Towards the end of our meal an older couple bravely ordered a dish of ice cream. It was very tense. They decided on pistachio.
I swear to you the server went into ecstasies over this. “Oh my Lord! I was hoping someone would order pistachio ice cream! Did you know that we are one of the only places in the world that serves pistachio ice cream?!” Yeah, that’s right folks. You heard it here first. Friendly’s is one of the only places in the whole entire world, heck the universe maybe, that has pistachio ice cream.
We still joke about it to this day.
Thankfully for you, with the help of David Lebovitz and The Fannie Farmer Cookbook, I developed a recipe for pistachio ice cream so you don’t have to trudge out to Friendly’s. Aren’t I the greatest?
*Just a Note: Because I didn’t strain my custard before chilling there are little bits of pistachio in the finished product. Which suits me just fine. However, if you’re not into a bit of a chewy ice cream I suggest straining the mixture after it’s been chilled and right before churning (this allows for maximum steepage of the pistachio paste and more flavor in the finished product). I did not add food coloring because the paste gave mine a lovely light green hue, I don’t know if you strain it how intense that color will be, but feel free to add some color if you’d rather your ice cream look more like pistachio.
Pistacho Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp vanilla)
6 egg yolks (save the whites for another use)
3/4 – 1 cup pistachio paste
In a medium sauce pot heat 1 cup of milk, heavy cream, and sugar just until steam begins to rise from the surface. Drop in the vanilla bean and let steep for thirty minutes. If you’re not using vanilla bean add the vanilla extract at this point and continue to the next steps, no steeping required.
Meanwhile, create an ice bath in a large bowl and set a slightly smaller bowl inside (enough to hold the custard when finished). Fill the bowl with the remaining milk and whisk in the pistachio paste. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks with a pinch of salt until foamy.
After the milk and cream mixture has steeped, remove the vanilla bean and place in the pistachio and milk mixture. Temper the eggs with the hot milk mixture by slowly ladling in about 1/4 cup and whisking continuously to prevent scrambling. You may need to whisk in more of the hot mixture if the eggs are not slightly warm to the touch. Once the eggs are tempered slowly pour them into the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Heat the mixture over medium-low and stir with a wooden spoon until thickened. Keep scraping the bottom of the pan to make sure it doesn’t scald. You’ll know the mixture is thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon and leaves a trail when you run your finger across it, about 10 minutes.
Remove custard from heat and pour through a mesh strainer into the waiting milk and pistachio mix. Stir until the mixture has cooled somewhat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least four hours, preferably overnight.
Once the mixture has chilled thoroughly, remove the vanilla bean. You can either strain the mixture again to remove any large pistachio chunks and then pour into your ice cream maker, or just pour it right into the maker as is. Churn according to your mixer’s instructions. Pour into a freezer proof container and freeze until firm.
Ice cream should last about two months in the freezer.