I love gelato! At least I adore the gelato I have in Italy. I have a strict personal policy… when in Italy, I must eat gelato every day! And if I miss a day, I must have it twice the next day. Now that is a rule I can live by.
I’ve always desired to have great gelato here at home, but until now I’d never had any as good as what I have had in Italy. I’ve wondered if it is the magic of the place that makes it so good? This may be partly true. But I’ve also become convinced that nobody in my part of the world makes it as good. This was true across the board… whether I purchased in a gelato shop, a grocery store, or an attempt to make it at home. I’ve tried making gelato a few times and it never came out like the wonderful stuff I’ve had in Italy… until now! YES!
I took this recipe from a couple of different sources. The custard base was adapted from the Best Recipe Italian Classics cookbook published by the editors of Cook’s Illustrated magazine. These people always test their recipes thoroughly. The pistachio cream recipe I got elsewhere, and when I put the two together, well it was like magic happened.
This base has be cooked ahead of time and thoroughly chilled before churning. It takes a little time but is well worth the effort. There was a lot of science and testing behind the procedures and temperatures for cooking the custard. I cannot explain all of those here but please follow them as carefully as you can.
A gelato maker would be ideal for churning this, but I used my Cuisinart ice cream maker and was very satisfied with the results. What is the difference you ask? Well a gelato maker only mixes in about half as much air as an ice cream maker, giving a denser consistency. I don’t yet have a gelato maker. I hope to one of these days, but they cost over $200 so its hard to justify unless I know I’m going to use it frequently.
Gelato is often viewed as a healthy alternative to ice cream due to it’s lower calorie content. This is because gelato is generally made with whole milk, or even 2% milk rather than cream. The lower butterfat is one reason it has more flavor, partly because the flavors are not coated over by fat.
Gelato also has a greater density and therefore you can eat less quantity and still be satisfied. So for those who are watching their waistlines, take heart, gelato may soon become your new midnight snack!
The other thing about gelato is the intensity of it’s flavors. This recipe calls for making your own Pistachio Cream. You can buy Pistachio Cream in some specialty grocery stores but this was easy to make. It would not have been easy if I’d have had to shell all of the pistachios, but luckily I found raw, unsalted, shelled pistachios at my local Trader Joe’s. With those in hand, it was easy. I made mine in my blender, but I think it would be easier in a food processor. I’ll find out next time. Either way, get the cream as smooth as you can. Then if you like you can add a few pistachios on top of the gelato when serving.
A few additional tips:
I highly recommend that you use an Instant Read Thermometer to keep track of
the temperature during the custard making.
Also, gelato is typically served at a slightly warmer temperature than ice cream. It is best served either right from the ice cream/gelato maker, or frozen for up to a few hours prior to serving. If you freeze it overnight, I suggest pulling it out a little while before serving.
Hope you enjoy! Buon appetito! Pistachio Gelato recipe