Oh, sorry, were you waiting for me to say something? I got distracted by the close-up of homemade ice cream. Really delicious, super creamy, pistachio-full ice cream.
For some reason, for years, I thought I didn't like pistachios. Maybe I was weirded out by the green color, maybe I thought the shells were too much work, but I can't possibly have not like the flavor, because that? Is insanity. With two pistachio recipes in a month, clearly I'm trying to make up for my mistakes.
1/2 cup of shelled pistachios doesn't seem like a lot, but roasting them and turning them into pistachio butter in the food processor gives this ice cream intense pistachio flavor. It's not the green you might expect if you are familiar with pistachio gelato, because those pistachios? Really expensive, and not quite as flavorful as the less vibrant California pistachios I used.
The method to making the custard used here is the invention of Jeni of Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and the eponymous cookbook. Traditionally, ice cream custards contain a whole lot of egg yolks, which works great in commercial settings but not as well at home. For home cooks, Jeni swaps out eggs for cornstarch, cream cheese, and corn syrup. I'm a fan: the texture is so rich and creamy, and the ice cream doesn't freeze too hard, making it a lot easier to enjoy over a week or two. There's a flavor bonus too: skipping egg yolks and their fatty richness really allows the cream and flavorings to shine.
Oh, and did I mention it's a lot less complicated than trying to make sure you don't accidentally scramble the eggs when adding them to hot milk? Because that might actually be my favorite part.
roasted pistachio ice cream
adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams At Home
So yes, this is an ice-cream-maker-required situation. Make sure your bowl is thoroughly frozen and the custard is actually cold before you start churning. Jeni recommends an ice bath for cooling, but if you don't have an ice maker in your freezer, this can be a pain. Alternately, just cool for at least 6 hours in the fridge.
1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Water and lots of ice for an ice bath
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the pistachios out on a baking sheet and roast in the prepared oven for 10 to 12 minutes, until starting to brown and filling your kitchen with pistachio fragrance. Remove from the oven and place in a food processor. Process until the pistachios become a smooth paste – this will take awhile, don't worry, it will happen!
Whisk together 2 tablespoons of the whole milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a slurry. (FYI, if you're slow with the other steps, this will start to clump, so make sure you whisk this before using.)
Whisk together the cream cheese, pistachio paste, and salt in a large bowl until smooth.
Take a large bowl and fill it about 2/3 with ice and water.
Combine the milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then allow to boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture slightly thickens, about a minute. Remove the pan from the heat.
Gradually pour the hot milk mixture into the pistachio mixture, whisking together until smooth. Then carefully pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and seal the bag. Submerge it in your ice bath. Cool for about 30 minutes, adding ice as it melts.
Get your ice cream machine ready. Pour the cooled base into the frozen canister (I usually snip off the edge of the Ziploc) and turn on the machine. Spin the ice cream until thick and aerated, about 30 minutes or until your machine can't take it anymore! Remove the ice cream from the machine into a freezer safe container, seal with an airtight lid and freeze until firm, about 4 hours.