I’m in a celebrating mood: I just published my latest Skillshare video class! The class is titled How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat–and believe me, the entire 26 minutes are drool-worthy.
This pistachio gelato is one of the recipes I make in the class, and it’s probably the recipe I was most excited to share. I know pistachio gelato is one of the most popular gelato flavors, but unfortunately it is also the most counterfeited one. The reason is simple: pistachio nuts are so darn expensive! Many gelato makers take shortcuts and use artificial pistachio flavorings instead of the real thing. But when you’ve tasted authentic pistachio gelato, you can really tell the difference. I still dream of the one I had in Sicily last year!
Sicilian pistachio gelato–served in a brioche…!–at I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza, in Catania, Sicily.
The key to making outstanding pistachio gelato is, in my opinion, in making your own pistachio paste. Not only will you save on buying the store-bought variety, but you’ll fully control the quality of the nuts you use–and of the gelato you churn.
This recipe provides instructions to make pistachio paste, and explains how to use it to make gelato. For a video demonstration of this recipe, make sure to check out Lesson 7 of my How to Make Gelato class.
Makes about 2 quarts [1.89 L].
The secret to making outstanding pistachio gelato is to make homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make your own and churn an amazing frozen treat.
For the Pistachio Paste
To Make the Gelato
To make the pistachio paste: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the shelled pistachio nuts and simmer for two minutes. This is going to blanch the nuts and make them easier to peel and grind later on. After two minutes, drain and rinse the nuts under cold water to cool them completely.
Dry the nuts with paper towels. If the nuts still have their skin on, you need to peel them because using the nuts with the skin on will change both the color and texture of the gelato. To peel a pistachio, simply pinch it between your fingers: the skin should come right off. This steps take a bit of work, but it's worth it. Alternatively, you can look for peeled pistachios, which are going to save you the extra step (it is still necessary to blanch peeled pistachios).
Put the blanched and peeled nuts in the bowl of a food processor, then add the sugar. Pulse until the nuts are finely ground, stopping from time to time to scrape down the bowl.
Add the whole milk and process until the mixture is as smooth and creamy as the food processor will make it (some tiny pistachio bits will remain but that’s ok). If you want an even smoother texture, transfer the pistachio paste to a mixing bowl and puree it further using a stick blender.
To make the pistachio gelato: Whisk the pistachio base into a batch of Sicilian-Style or Classic Gelato Base. If desired, whisk a teaspoon [5 ml] of pistachio or almond extract. Pour into the bowl of an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Stop the machine when the gelato is icy but still soft.
Transfer the gelato to an airtight container and freeze until firm, about two hours. The gelato will keep, frozen, for up to two weeks. Always take the gelato out to room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before serving to soften it and make it easier to scoop.
Recipe Credit: Marie Asselin