May 8, 2010

pistachio gelato

I would like to propose a toast to the end of my AP European History class; I took the final AP College Board test yesterday, which consisted of 80 multiple choice and 3 essays in 3 hours. Unfortunately, the test, which we took in the smallest possible desks (I was first placed with a left-handed desk, of course) in the gym, ended up taking most of the day, as I arrived at 8AM and left at 5PM. I came home with a roaring headache, a pain in my writing hand, and plopped myself onto the couch while buying It's Complicated on Movies on Demand. The ongoing love feud between Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin entertained me satisfactorily until my sweet tooth kicked in, at which point I decided to make some ice cream, because I'm easily influenced, and, well, that was Meryl's favorite thing to do in the movie when she couldn't sleep. 

I used David Lebovitz's recipe for Pistachio Gelato, and had to go on the hunt for something called "pistachio butter". Unfortunately none of the stores in the tri-state area had it in stock, but the weirdest thing happened; I was in Citarella's, getting distracted from my main purpose of why I set out to the store by the variety of cheeses on display, when I heard a girl ask a store-clerk for pistachio butter!
"Did you say you were looking for pistachio butter? I am too!"
"Really? That's so bizarre! I just tried next door. Have you checked anywhere else?"
"All of the markets in a 5-block radius"
"Shiesa (for those who don't approve of cursing)!"
After conversing for a while, I had the revelation of making my own pistachio butter and no sooner had I bought the pistachios than my mom and I were eating the leftovers out of the container. 

For those of you who like not overly-rich, but flavorful, light and still indulgent ice cream- this is absolutely perfect. The texture tasted completely homemade because of the ground pistachios, and because I like my ice cream on the "more" side, I would increase the amount of pistachio butter that goes into it for a bit extra indulgence. 

Pistachio Gelato
via David Lebovitz
About 3 cups (3/4 liter)*

2 cups (½ liter) whole milk
1/3 cup (65 gr) sugar
2 tablespoons (16 gr) cornstarch (also known as corn flour)
7 ounces (200 gr) Bronte pistachio paste **
a few drops of lemon or orange juice

1. Make a slurry by mixing the 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch, mixing until the starch is dissolved and the mixture is smooth.

2. Heat the rest of the milk in a medium-sized saucepan with the sugar.

3. When it almost starts to boil, stir in the cornstarch mixture and cook at gentle simmer for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Remove from heat, scrape into a bowl, and chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

5. Once chilled, whisk in the pistachio paste and just a few drops of citrus juice until smooth.

6. Freeze the gelato in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

*My trial of this recipe produced a bit less than 3 cups, which I can only think to attribute to possibly using less pistachio butter than asked for; since I don't have a scale, I had a hard time measuring 7 oz. I recommend making sure you have a solid method of measuring it out for this recipe. 
**Or use the homemade recipe found here (Note: it is quite time consuming- but also worth it)

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