This authentic Italian ice cream recipe, by chef and food writer Ursula Ferrigno, is a surefire crowd pleaser on a sun-drenched summer’s day
IMAGE: DAVID MUNNS
I visited Palermo for research in the middle of April. I took my little girl Antonia with me and we were both hugely excited. I knew that her love of food and her honesty would provide me with excellent criticism of dishes that we encountered.
Our morning in Palermo was spent visiting a bustling speciality market; by midday we were hot and tired, the sun surprising us with its strength. We made a quick decision to return to our hotel, change and head for the beautiful Mondello beach, a half-hour drive away, where we first tasted this ice cream.
Along with citrus fruits, pistachios have been granted DOP (Protected Designation of Origin) status in Sicily, with the Bronte pistachio – which is only grown in Sicily – proving to be the very best.
Pistachio Ice Cream
- 100 g /1 cup shelled pistachios unsalted
- 450 ml /13⁄4 cups whole milk
- 450 ml /2 cups double/heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 ⁄4 teaspoon sea salt crushed
- 100 g /1⁄2 cup golden caster or granulated sugar
- 4 UK large eggs
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread the nuts out in a single layer and toast in the oven for 8 minutes. Cool. Heat the milk and cream together in a saucepan until scalding. Grind the cooled nuts in a food processor until fine but with a little texture, if you like texture. Add the vanilla and salt, and stir well.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs together until thick and creamy, and the whisk leaves a trail when lifted from the bowl, approximately 8–10 minutes.
- Combine the milk and eggs together in the pan and gently cook the custard mixture over low heat. This should not take longer than 8 minutes. Stir really well as this could turn to scrambled egg, so heat gently and carefully.
- If you would like a pronounced green gelato, cool the mixture and leave overnight in the fridge, then freeze and churn in an ice-cream machine as per the manufacturer’s instructions. If, like me, you are impatient, leave the creamy pistachio custard to cool, then freeze and churn.
- Serve on its own, or with chocolate ice cream – they are rather good together.
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