I’m not much of a holiday girl.
Valentine’s Day literally did not exist for me this year. The 4th of July is a joke. Labor Day? I don’t even use it as an excuse to go on vacation.
With something as unexciting as St. Patrick’s Day coming up you might think I’d gloss over it altogether. Still, I can’t get away from it because I’m on food blogs all day and what do they do? Turn perfectly good food either an unsightly shade of green of fill it with booze (hooray for the Irish!). So I thought I would offer up a slightly more natural alternative.
Pistachio ice cream is green without being overly so. It is festive and delicious and feels so wrong in such a good way on a cold winter day. This was my first attempt at making homemade ice cream and I’m definitely doing it again soon. I can see that I”m going to have to try several ice cream recipes before I find the technique and recipe that is perfect for me (its such a hard job, isn’t it?). I like really hard ice cream. If it melts I”m not eating it and if its too creamy its not perfect but you better believe I’m going to eat it anyways. Dairy Queen Blizzards are a whole other animal, but we can talk about that another day.
What I’m saying is this – this ice cream needs to sit in the freezer for a good long while before it tastes perfect. I got impatient and tried it after two hours. Then I was wondering what I was going to do with all this ice cream because I didn’t like the texture and the jury was still out on the flavor. Luckily I tried it again the next day and, oh boy, it was perfect. Now I know that temperature really affects the taste of ice cream and I will be freezing batches overnight before trying them again.
All that being said, the flavor here is exquisite. I garnished it with these delightful chocolate covered sunflower seeds. Happy St. Patrick’s Day, or something like that.
1 1/3 cups shelled pistachio nuts
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
3/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Place the 1 1/3 cups pistachios in a food processor and process until finely ground, but not to a paste. Set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, place the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the heavy cream, and salt over medium heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture is warm. Stir in the ground nuts. Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep for at least 30 minutes.
Strain the warm nut mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl, pressing the nuts to remove as much liquid as possible, and discard the solids. In another medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan you used for the milk.
Stir the yolk mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream into a clean medium bowl and set a fine mesh sieve on top. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Add the vanilla extract and almond extract and stir until combined.
Refrigerate until cold. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions. I used the ice cream maker attachment for my KitchenAid mixer and mixed it for 25 minutes, adding the chopped pistachios in the last 5 minutes. You could also fold in the chopped nuts at the end with a rubber spatula. Remove the ice cream to an airtight container and store it in the freezer for at least four hours or until ready to eat.
Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker