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. 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 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.
What You Will Need
- 4 large egg yolks
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
- 6 Tbsp. pure pistachio paste (not pistachio cream)
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined. Whisk in the milk, cream, and salt until combined.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.