Making pistachio ice cream
I have a less known hobby - Ice cream making. A couple of years ago we bought an ice cream maker. Since then we hardly buy factory produced ice cream anymore. It's great fun to explore new flavors. Here I'm showing how to make the world's best pistachio ice cream.
6 dl milk, 2 dl cream, 3 dl sugar, 2 1/2 tbsp (37ml) corn starch, 1/2 dl dry milk powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla powder from vanilla stem, 1/2 can pistachio paste, 40g pistachio nuts, 6 cl bitter almond liqueur (Amaretto)
Pour 2 dl cream in a pan.
Add 6 dl whole milk. I use proportionally small amounts of cream compared to classic ice cream where you have equal amounts of cream and milk. Italian Gelato actually has no cream at all, but in this recipe we appreciate a "rounder" flavor.
Add 3 dl sugar. No, it won't be too sweet. Not nutritious enough for you? Go for a jogging round! I never go below 1 1/2 dl sugar. After that, both taste and texture suffers
Add 1/2 dl dry milk powder. This helps reducing the risk of ice crystals forming - the #1 enemy to ice cream making. Ice cream containing berries needs even more dry milk powder.
Add 2 1/2 tsp corn starch (Maizena). The corn starch delivers a perfect texture/consistency and lowers the risk of ice crystals forming. It's also far easier to handle than egg yolks that easily coagulate in high temperatures
Add 1/2 tsp powder from vanilla stem
Ready to be heated
The ingredients are heated to 90 degrees Celcius under continuous stirring so the milk protein doesn't burn. At 80 degrees, the mix thickens somewhat due to the corn starch. After 80 degrees, the sugar molecules break up into smaller molecules which is good for the texture
Landing at 90 degrees Celcius. Going higher will give a touch of almond to the milk. That in itself isn't too bad for this type of ice cream, but let's not risk it. Had we been using egg yolks, we couldn't have gone beyond 83 degrees.
Time to cool down the mixture in cool water
While the mixture is hot, we add 1/2 can pistachio paste (very finely grained nuts)
and stir. As the mixture is still warm, it blends well.
Let's add 40g crushed nuts. It adds even more flavor and gives us something to chew on
... and pling! There we are, relatively finely grained
Add the nuts
...and stir. Ice cream mixture normally looks more inviting than this, but the taste is already delicious
We'll top the experience by adding some bitter almond liqueur
6 cl will do fine. The liqueur delivers a wonderful twist and enhances the overall flavor. It also reduces the risk of ice crystals forming and lowers the freezing point thereby ensuring that the ice cream isn't too hard when taken from the freezer.
I now let the mixture cool down in the freezer for about an hour. Feeding a cool mixture to the ice cream machine will help it freezing the ice cream rapidly. The faster the better ( = smaller ice crystals)
This is our ice cream maker. (Branded Wilfa, a Norwegian brand, for around €250). It's one of the few consumer machines with integrated compressor. I strongly recommend using a machine with integrated compressor as you don't have to prepare a cooling block 24 hours before making the ice cream. You also don't run the risk of the cooling block running out before the ice cream is ready
This machine can formally make 1 1/2 liter ice cream in one go, but I never add more than 0.6 liter mixture as the mixture expands, but foremost for the reason that the freezing process is quicker with smaller amounts and that delivers a noticeably smoother ice cream (i.e. smaller ice crystals)
An ice cream maker simply freezes the mixture during constant stirring.
It takes about 45 minutes to make ice cream out of 0.6L mixture.
Now we're almost done. The machine shall really go heavy when approaching the final. The longer you let it "suffer", the smoother the ice cream gets (yes, it's those infamous ice crystals again)
The constant stirring creates a fantastic texture and smoothness, just like the best Italian Gelato
First round ready. Oh my, I love that creamy texture! Now put it into the freezer while we wait for the 2:nd round. We naturally sample it and almost faint :-)
The 2:nd round is done. We almost got 1.6 liter of wonderful pistachio ice cream.
The density is noticeably higher than on commercial ice cream where they often let the ice cream expand even more (air is cheaper)
You can serve the ice cream straight from the machine, but it usually needs a couple of hours in the freezer to be stable. Here served with lemon ice cream. The lemon ice cream is too cold here, causing a matte texture. The ideal serving temperature is -13 degrees Celsius.
I had one scoop of blue berry ice cream left too. Unfortunately it had been left for a month in the freezer and ice crystals had started forming. Berry-based ice cream is more prone to forming ice crystals than for instance pistachio and rum raisin.
Nothing but natural ingredients here, and a wonderful taste. Do you know what they put in factory produced ice cream? That alone is a reason for making your own... Thanks for watching. Hoping this has inspired you to making your own ice cream. Let me know your favorite recipe! Now, if you excuse me I have some marvelous ice cream to enjoy :-)