Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pistachio Ice Cream

My ice cream maker has been sitting in the pantry, patiently waiting to be used. It's been a few years since I've made any kind of ice cream or sorbet, so I was excited to try it out again.

It seems like everyone around me has a taste for pistachio. I get an occasional taste for it, mostly because my Dad loves them. Although when I was a kid, I remember the shells being pink and your fingers getting pink from cracking too many open. I reminisced with a friend about this, and they pointed me to an article about pistachios on Wikipedia that stated that the coloring was in place to hide stains that may have occurred during picking. Did you know that?

Anyhow, I picked up a bag of pistachios from Costco...meaning somewhere in the vicinity of 4 lbs worth. Unfortunately, they are roasted and salted, so that became an extra step in order to use them in the ice cream recipe.

I found a recipe for Pistachio Ice Cream by Emeril, read some user comments to make sure it was a decent recipe, and then started cracking. Literally. I think cracking about one cup of pistachios has incremented my carpal tunnel counter. My thoughts during this? This ice cream better taste like angels.

After shelling a cup of pistachios, I threw them in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes to get the salt off. Strained them in a colander only to find that there was another layer to peel off!

Peeled the pistachios and then put them on a baking sheet to dry out in the oven. First I started off at 200F, and realized this was going nowhere fast. After about 20 minutes at 200F, I bumped up the temp to 350F and baked them for about 13 minutes more. Took them out, and let them sit for a few hours to cool off. Now it was break time! (Wine and cheese with friends :D)

When I came home, I was happy to find the pistachios were dry and unsalted. Phase two was ready to begin...making the custard. Standard fare, boil milks, beat eggs with sugar and combine. Then heat until it gets custardy. Mix the pistachios and extract in and you are good to go into the refrigerator overnight (or until cooled).
The final step is the simplest - it's the remembering that's the hard part. My ice cream maker has a core that needs to be frozen in advance. Knowing that I was going to make ice cream of some sort, I threw the core in the freezer the previous day.
I scraped the custard into the core and let the ice cream maker do its magic. About 25-30 minutes later, pistachio ice cream was ready!

I'm not sure if it tasted like angels...but I would say that the taste was pretty good. It was just sweet enough and creamy. I would like to try with unsalted pistachios, because I think my pistachios in the ice cream were a little just need to see if there can be some added crunch. Maybe not so fine pistachios next time, honey instead of sugar, and chopped apricots.

Pistachio Ice Cream (edited version of Emeril's)
Makes about 2 cups

1 cup shelled unsalted pistachios
1/2 cup sugar
6 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream

Finely process pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar.
Heat milk and cream over stovetop until boil. Stir occasionally so film doesn't happen.
Beat eggs and 1/4 cup sugar.
1 cup a time, add the milk mixture into the eggs until all combined.
Put back into pot over stovetop. Stir occasionally so film doesn't happen, about 6 minutes the mixture will become "custardy". Remove from heat.
Combine pistachios and almond extract into custard.
Put into bowl and put saran wrap directly on the custard to avoid creating a film.
Put into refrigerator until completely cool.
Add to ice cream maker and let it go until ice cream forms - about 25-30 mins for this one.