pistachio gelato.

It’s official.

I AM a genius.

I have mastered the art of pistachio gelato.

Inexpensive, homemade, lower-in-fat, and crazy delicious pistachio gelato, to be more exact.

Meaning, I didn’t have to spend $24 plus $9.99 shipping and handling to purchase imported pistachio cream from Italy.

Phew. Mr. Peaches would not have been happy.

But because of that, I did have to scramble like a madwoman to make it on time to our Super Bowl party because I had my head stuck over a trash can all afternoon shelling a bowl of pistachios until my fingers were raw.

“Umm…Meeeeegggg, we have to leave for the party soon!,” Mr. Peaches cries from the other room.

“Stop it with those nuts and get in the shower NOW!”

“Leave me alone!!!” I bark back.

“…I’m making MAGIC over here!”

I dreamt about the gelato all throughout the game…

So I opted to go truly “Sicilian style” with this gelato, which involves creating the base with cornstarch instead of eggs.

I learned from David Lebovitz that the main advantage to not using eggs is that the flavor is focused entirely on the pistachio, without anything else to distract from it.

Not to mention, the use of cornstarch and milk instead of eggs and heavy cream reduces the saturated fat content.


If you know someone that’s even remotely interested in pistachios, this gelato will make them go bonkers.

Two scoops for me, one scoop for him.

Just save it for a rainy weekend and have patience — this recipe is a labor of love that will require your tender-loving time and care.

Pistachio Gelato
Adapted from David Lebovitz, Bon Appetit, Manu’s Menu, and 101 Cookbooks
Makes 1 quart

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  • 1 ¾ cups (about 8 ounces) unsalted pistachios in shell, Italian, if available
  • ¼ cup + another ¼ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup + another 2 ¾ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 drops green food coloring
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Boil a pot of water. Place the pistachios in the pot of boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain through a colander. Remove the shells and purple-y skins.  Dry them well.

Finely grind the pistachios, ¼ cup sugar, and a pinch of salt in a food processor until obtaining a rough, thick paste, about 10-12 minutes (be patient). Set aside.

Make a slurry by mixing the ¼ cup of the milk with the cornstarch, mixing until the starch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth. Set aside.

Heat the rest of the milk in a medium-sized saucepan with the remaining ¼ cup sugar over medium-high heat. When it almost starts to boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture, lower the heat, and cook at gentle simmer for about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the custard coats the back of a spoon and a clean line forms when you run your finger over the spoon. Remove from heat. Strain through a fine mesh colander. Whisk in two drops of green food coloring and pistachio paste. Scrape into a bowl, and chill thoroughly, at least three hours or overnight. Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker is in the freezer in the coldest setting at this time as well.

Once chilled, whisk in the lemon juice. Strain the mixture again through a fine mesh colander.

Place gelato in a bowl of a running ice cream maker and process according to according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer into a container, cover it with cling wrap (make sure it touches the gelato, so no air can pass through) and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

*Note on the pistachio paste: Homemade pistachio paste may be subbed for jarred imported Bronte pistachio cream, which runs fairly expensive. I made own pistachio paste by grinding the nuts in a food processor. Some chefs, i.e., the incredible Rick Bayless, warn against doing this as the heat from the grinding can alter the flavor of the nuts. But if you can’t bring yourself make a $40 quart of pistachio gelato, I think grinding the nuts on your own produces a truly yummy result as well.

Hope your day is SWEET!

peaches & cake

5 responses to “pistachio gelato.

  1. Kathy

    Fun! Are those depression glass ice cream dishes?

  2. Homemade ice cream… Yummm! Nothing can beat that, especially hand shelled pistachios. Labor of love indeed.

  3. Pingback: cappuccino chip ice cream. « peaches & cake


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