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Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)

Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)

The secret to outstanding pistachio gelato is homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make it and churn an amazing Italian frozen treat!

Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste // FoodNouveau.com

This post contains affiliate links. Full disclosure is at the bottom of the article.


A few years ago, I published an entire video class dedicated to the art of making authentic gelato from scratch. That’s how passionate I am about the Italian treat! 

I created this pistachio gelato recipe for the class and it’s probably the one I was most excited to share. Pistachio gelato is undeniably one of the most popular gelato flavors, but unfortunately, it is also the most counterfeited ones. 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 a few years ago!

Sicilian pistachio gelato–served in a brioche…!–at I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza, in Catania, Sicily.

Sicilian pistachio gelato--served in a brioche...!--at I Dolci di Nonna Vicenza, in Catania, Sicily. // FoodNouveau.com

The key to making outstanding pistachio gelato is to make your own pistachio paste from scratch. 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 pistachio recipe provides instructions to make pistachio paste and explains how to use it to make gelato.

Homemade Pistachio Paste // FoodNouveau.com

To see me make this pistachio gelato on video, make sure to check out Lesson 7 of my How to Make Gelato class.

Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste // FoodNouveau.com

Helpful Tips for Making Pistachio Gelato

  • Don’t skip that soaking step: Making the pistachio paste requires you to soak the pistachios. Don’t skip this extra step: soaking the nuts makes them tender and easier to blend into a super-smooth pistachio paste, which is the very foundation of this silky-smooth pistachio gelato.
  • Peel the pistachios—if you have the patience for it: Most shelled pistachios come partly peeled. If you look closely, the nuts still have a thin skin over them. After soaking, that skin becomes more obvious, and it’s actually super easy to peel the pistachios by squeezing them between two fingers. Removing those skins makes for an extra-smooth pistachio paste, and it produces a more vibrant color, too. So if you have the time and patience for it, remove those skins. It’s worth the extra effort!
  • Use and reuse that precious pistachio paste: Homemade pistachio paste is so delicious and versatile: you can use it to make semifreddo, puddings, croissants, and so many other treats! Once you know how to make pistachio paste from scratch and taste how incredibly delicious it is compared to store-bought products, you’ll want to come up with dessert ideas just to use it in!
  • Refrigerate that pistachio gelato custard for hours—preferably overnight—before you churn it: A thoroughly cold custard is key to creating the smoothest, creamiest gelato. Refrigerating the custard for several hours (at least 3!) is good, but an overnight stay in the fridge is even better. Sure this requires some planning ahead, but it also breaks down the process of making pistachio gelato from scratch, making it easier on your schedule.

A Generous Serving of Homemade Pistachio Gelato // FoodNouveau.com


How to Make Gelato Video Class

If you’ve never made gelato, I invite you to read my detailed how-to post about the process. You can also watch my video class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat. In it, you’ll find out what makes gelato different from ice cream, how to make a versatile gelato base you can turn into a variety of flavors, and all my secrets and tips to churn and serve outstanding gelato. I even share how to make dairy-free vegan gelato! In short, it’s a very thorough, colorful class that will quickly turn you into a gelato master. Watch Now!

Video Class: How to Make Gelato: Tips and Recipes to Make the Delightful Italian Frozen Treat // FoodNouveau.com

 
Pistachio Gelato Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste // FoodNouveau.com

Pistachio Gelato (Made with Homemade Pistachio Paste)

The secret to outstanding pistachio gelato is homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make it and churn an amazing Italian frozen treat!
Prep Time:30 mins
Cook Time:10 mins
Churning/Freezing Time:4 hrs 30 mins
Author Marie Asselin, FoodNouveau.com

Ingredients

For the Pistachio Paste

To Make the Gelato

Instructions

  • 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 the pistachio or almond extract, if using, 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. 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.

Did you make this?

Tell me how you liked it! Leave a comment or take a picture and tag it with @foodnouveau on Instagram.

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Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Churning/Freezing Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

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  1. I notice that besides cups and teaspoons, etc, you give ingredients in ml. I assume this means millilitres. These are all volumes. Is there any reason you do not list quantities by weight, like ounces or grams? That would be especially helpful as most people these days have good digital food scales. Thanks.

    • Hi Ed! I agree with you that metric measurements are handy and more precise. I live in North America and I’ve been raised using volume measurements in the kitchen, and this is what most North American still use today. However, as a professional recipe developer, I do use metric measurements on a daily basis! I just completely updated my site and I’m currently in the process of updating all hundreds of my recipes to include metric measurements. It’s a long process but I’ll get there! Thanks for your comment and patience as I go through this transition! :)

    • Hello Iryna! I recommend using raw pistachios because they’re easier to peel and the green color is more intense. If you only have unsalted, roasted pistachios on hand though, feel free to use them! The pistachio gelato will be delicious just the same.