MAKES ABOUT 1 QUART; Photo pg. 24
Active: 15 min. • Total: 5 hr. 45 min., plus overnight chilling
Compared to American and French ice creams, Italian-style gelato is made with less cream. Surprisingly, this translates to a denser, richer texture, since cream traps more air bubbles than milk when churned. (See “Brainfreeze” at right for more.) Gelato also melts faster on the tongue, and the neutral base intensifies added flavors—in this case, pistachio. For a deliriously good pistachio gelato, you need deliriously good—and accordingly expensive—pistachio paste. Agrimontana’s Sicilian paste ($28 for 8 oz.; lepicerie. com) is a dark, fragrant, and almost juicy expression of the queen of nuts, made with nothing more than pistachios and added pistachio oil for a silky texture. If you can’t swing the Sicilian stuff, look for a paste with only pistachios, oil, and salt, and avoid products labeled “pistachio cream,” an indicator that the pistachio content has been cut with sugars and stabilizers. 1 In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, and salt until combined.
2 Set the saucepan over medium heat and cook, whisking frequently, until a thermometer inserted into the mixture reads 170°. Remove from the heat and whisk in the pistachio paste until well combined.
3 Set a fine strainer over an airtight container and pour the mixture through. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to 3 days (this helps cooked custard bases achieve a stable consistency).
4 In the bowl of an ice cream maker, churn the mixture according to the manufacturer’s directions until it’s firm and billowy, and a spoon dragged across the top leaves a lasting impression, about 30 minutes. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze until hardened, at least 4–5 hours. Later on, if it’s too firm, thaw it in the refrigerator for 10–15 minutes before scooping and serving. For best results, eat within 2 days of freezing.
Meet the secret to making the best pistachio gelato you’ve ever tasted: luxurious 100 percent pistachio paste.