I'm back on my ice cream kick. This time I had to make another favorite...pistachio! Pistachio is what I call my touchstone flavor; it's what I measure all ice cream by, whether it's commercially made or homemade. Because, I figure, if you can make a fantastic tasting pistachio you can make all the others.
This ice cream is rich, creamy and bursting with pistachio flavor. It actually reminds me of the pistachio gelato you'd find in Florence. Hmmmm...gelato. It brings back so many great memories of my friends and I travelling in Italy. I swear I think we had gelato at least three times a day.
The key to the ice cream's intense flavor is pistachio paste. It's expensive as hell but it's worth it in this recipe. I was lucky enough to receive a tub of this liquid gold a while back and I've been hoarding it like crazy ever since, using it almost exclusively for macarons and now ice cream. I'm down to the last few spoonfuls so you can bet that I'm savoring every remaining morsel.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup + 1 Tbl granulated sugar
2 cups half and half (or 1 cup whole milk + 1 cup heavy cream)
1/2 tsp almond extract
3/4 cup pistachio paste
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks thoroughly until well combined. In a saucepan set over medium heat, stir the sugar in to the half and half and let come to a simmer, without letting mixture come to a full boil.
Slowly pour the hot cream over the egg yolks mixture while whisking to temper the egg yolks. Pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream coats the back of spoon. It should register 170F on a candy thermometer. At this point you have made a custard sauce. Let cool completely, strain and refrigerate until cold, ideally overnight.
Stir in the almond extract and pistachio paste to the chilled custard. Process the custard according to your ice cream maker manufacturer's instructions and toward the end of the churning period throw in the chopped pistachios. Spoon ice cream into container and freeze until hard, at least 4 hours.