It’s been a little while since I’ve made & shared homemade ice cream. So today I thought I’d change that. My husband has been asking me to make pistachio ice cream for years now, and I finally got around to it! I’m kicking myself for not making this sooner- it’s probably my new favorite flavor (although my chocolate thin mint & toasted coconut are hard to beat). I love how creamy and flavorful the base is and the salty crunchy bits of pistachio that are scattered throughout. It’s heavenly.
So what makes this ‘the best’ homemade pistachio ice cream? Well, a few things. Both the method and the ingredients are huge factors in creating the perfect scoop. To start, you’re going to need ¾ of a cup of roasted salted pistachios. I prefer the unshelled kind (just to save time) and have spotted them at my local grocery store in the produce section and at both Costco and Target. You can also buy them online too. Since pistachio paste/butter are expensive and hard to find, we’re going to make our own makeshift version. You’ll grind some of the pistachios with a portion of the sugar and then cook them along with the milk and cream to help steep them and release their flavor. This, along with chilling the base is key in developing that nutty flavor.
Like I mentioned above, you boil a portion of the pistachios to help release their color and flavor. You’ll temper some eggs (I like adding whole eggs to help keep the ice cream from getting too hard) and cook the mixture until it reaches a safe temperature. Then you’ll pour it through a mesh sieve and into a mixing bowl. DONT SKIP THIS STEP or you’ll end up with an incredibly coarse base instead of a smooth and creamy one. Just make sure to press the pistachios for a few minutes to remove any and all of the liquid you possibly can. Add in some almond and vanilla extract (or paste) and you’re ready to chill it/prepare it for the big freeze.
If you’re in a time crunch, you can totally get away with chilling the base in the refrigerator for just 2 hours. But… for crazy good flavor, make this base before you go to bed and let it rest in the fridge overnight. It’ll help intensify the pistachio flavor. When your base is cold, pour it into an ice cream machine or bowl and churn until it’s nice and thick- it took about 20 minutes in my KitchenAid Ice Cream Attachment. Coarsely chop and fold in the remaining ¼ cup of pistachios and place in a freezer-safe container in the freezer to firm up for 3-4 hours before serving.
Enjoy as soon as possible, trust me, you’ll want to. I hope you’ll enjoy this ice cream as much as we did!
- ¾ c. shelled pistachios, divided*
- ½ c. sugar, divided
- 1½ c. whole milk
- 1½ c. heavy cream
- 3 eggs + 2 yolks
- ¼+ 1/8 tsp. almond extract
- ¼ tsp. vanilla extract or paste
- In a large heavy bottom saucepan bring the milk, cream and ¼ c. sugar to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, grind ½ c. of the pistachios along with ¼ c. of the sugar until fine, taking care not to make a butter. Pour into the milk mixture, and allow it to continue heating to a boil, whisking every minute or so.
- In a medium size mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs and egg yolks. Temper the eggs by gradually pouring a cup or so of the hot milk/pistachio mixture in, whisking vigorously to prevent the eggs from scrambling. Gradually add the egg mixture in a slow, steady stream back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula, until it thickens and reaches 170 degrees on a thermometer, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat pour through a mesh sieve and into a large mixing bowl. Press hard to remove any remaining liquid from the sieve, you may want to take a few minutes to get everything you can out. Add the almond and vanilla extract, whisk to combine. Place over an ice bath and chill until cool. Then cover with plastic wrap, pressing it against the mixture to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably over night.
- Remove from the refrigerator and pour into an ice cream machine or attachment bowl. Freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions (about 20 minutes if you're using a KitchenAid bowl). When the ice cream is firm, coarsely chop the remaining ¼ c. of pistachios and fold in. Place in a freezer-safe container and chill for 3-4 hours before serving.
-I didn't use food coloring. The base will be a brownish green but as it churns it will lighten up and look more like homemade vanilla does.
Recipe source: Life Made Simple