BY SAM DESTEFANO
It all started in Rome the summer of 1999. After walking the city from front to back in the dead heat of summer, we found the only remedy to be cold gelato. While we can’t remember the name of the gelatoria, we do remember the shop owner recommending a double scoop, one pistachio and the other strawberry. We were slightly reluctant at the combo, but soon realized that we had not been living our best lives, up until this point. This combo is damn good. Flash forward two decades later and we finally bought our own gelato maker. While we don’t spend the time to make both flavors, we have found this pistachio recipe to be near perfection and even better topped with fresh strawberries. We hope you enjoy it on these hot summer days!
1 1/2 cups (6 oz./185 g) salted whole pistachio nuts, shelled and skins removed
3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar
2 cups (16 fl. oz./500 ml) whole milk
6 egg yolks
1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1. In a food processor, combine half of the pistachios and 1/4 cup (2 oz./60 g) of the sugar. Pulse to chop the nuts coarsely, then process to a coarse paste, about 1 minute. Using a chef’s knife, coarsely chop the remaining nuts.
2. In a saucepan, combine the milk and the pistachio paste, stirring to distribute it evenly. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cream and the remaining 1/2 cup (4 oz./125 g) sugar until well blended.
3. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until bubbles form around the edges and the sugar dissolves, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not allow to come to a boil. Remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolk mixture while slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture. When almost all of the hot liquid has been added, slowly pour the warmed yolk mixture back into the saucepan, still whisking. Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Do not boil.
4. Pour the hot custard through a sieve into a clean bowl, gently pressing the liquid through the sieve and leaving any grainy solids in the sieve. Stir in the vanilla until blended.
5. Nestle the bowl with the custard in a larger one filled halfway with ice and water and let cool for 30 to 45 minutes. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard and on top of the bowl. Refrigerate for 3 to 24 hours unless your machine doesn’t require refrigeration.
6. Prepare an ice cream maker with at least a 1-quart (1-l) capacity according to the manufacturer’s directions. Pour the custard into the ice cream maker and churn until the custard reaches the consistency of thick whipped cream. During the last 1 minute of churning, add the chopped pistachios and continue to churn until incorporated. Transfer to a plastic freezer container, cover tightly and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours. Makes about 1 quart.