The secret to outstanding pistachio gelato is homemade pistachio paste. Learn how to make it and churn an amazing Italian frozen treat!
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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.
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.
To see me make this pistachio gelato on video, make sure to check out Lesson 7 of my How to Make Gelato class.
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.
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!
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!
A very cold custard is key to creating the smoothest, creamiest gelato. Refrigerating the custard for several hours (at least 4!) is good, but an overnight stay in the fridge is even better. This requires some planning ahead, but it also breaks down the process of making pistachio gelato from scratch, making it easier on your schedule.
Never made gelato before? Curious about what makes gelato different from ice cream? Check out my detailed 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!
Love gelato? Then you need to give these irresistible gelato recipes a try.
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