Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Pistachio Ice Cream Nostalgia

Summer is officially over. It may not seem so in Brisbane (where the average is still in the high 20’s) but elsewhere in Australia the temperatures have started falling. As I write this post it’s actually 1C in sunny Canberra (lucky them!).

If you’re from one of the southern states you might think it’s a tad late to be posting about ice cream. But luckily I live in the ‘smart state’ of Queensland where we get to enjoy this icy treat any time of the year. Yes, even in the middle of winter.

Anyways, my dear wife (Cherry of Cherry’s Cakes) gave me an ice cream maker for our 14th anniversary. I immediately put it to good use always with the intention of writing a post about it. Well, 5 months and several tubs of ice cream later nada post. Unless you follow me (@thebeancounter) on Instagram there was no way you’ll know of my recent ice cream exploits. More on Instagram in a future post…I promise.

A caveat before you continue reading, making your own ice cream can be much more expensive than buying straight off the supermarket freezer..and it is very addictive. Procuring the essential ingredients without the benefit of economies of scale can be costly. But knowing exactly what goes in your ice cream makes it absolutely worth it. And it is addictive because it’s easy. It doesn’t take a genius..really.

I’ve always wanted to make my own pistachio ice cream. Not just for the challenge but more so for the nostalgia this particular flavour brings. Back in the days before Super Malls the Quiapo district of Manila was the place to be. There I go to Coney Island Ice Cream (American name but apparently 100% Filipino) to get my fill of this curious green coloured treat. Those carefree days...when my biggest worry was getting more of the ice cream in my mouth and less on my clothes.

Apparently, to create the ‘best’ possible pistachio ice cream one must source a particular pistachio paste from Bronte, Italy. In this day and age of online shopping I did not see that as a hurdle. Anything can be delivered downunder…or so I thought. I'm not sure if it's Australia's ‘strict to the point of ridiculousness’ quarantine rules that caused this but I could not get Bronte pistachios anywhere near my brand spanking new ice cream maker.

The next best thing was to make my own paste... I couldn’t be bothered.

I ditched the 'best' idea and looked for a simpler recipe. I went back to Cusinart’s recipe booklet. What I found didn’t excite me but I gave it a go… And much to my surprise the result was pretty impressive. I made some slight modifications to simplify it further and make sure I do not waste my ingredients and this is what I’m sharing with you below. By the way, you need an ice cream machine that can hold 2 litres. Read and follow your machine's manual. If you have a smaller version please adjust the measurements accordingly.

Pistachio Ice Cream

1 cup full cream milk chilled

1 ¼ cup caster sugar

2 x 300ml Thickened Cream

1 x 300ml Double Cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

½ teaspoon almond extract

1 ½ cups roughly chopped pistachios

1. In a bowl, combine the milk and the caster sugar until the sugar is fully dissolved.

2. Stir in the thickened cream, the double cream, vanilla and almond extracts.

3. Turn the machine own; pour the mixture into the freezer bowl and let it mix until thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Add the chopped pistachios in the last 5 minutes of churning.

4. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If you prefer a firmer consistency transfer the ice cream to an air tight container and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.