I love ice cream, and even though I eat considerably more during the summer, it’s a treat I like to enjoy year round.   For as long as I can remember my mom has always had an ice cream maker, not the fancy electric type but the old school hand crank that needs lots of ice and salt.  I’ve watched her labor relentlessly at producing creamy, cold perfection.    Recently she’s upgraded to the the electric version, but it’s still the old school style bucket.

I’ve always looked forward to her homemade ice creams, they were rich, thick and unlike anything that’s sold in the grocery store; it was pure decadence.  Since moving away from home, I haven’t had the luxury of having her ice creams anymore, instead I’ve spent many a day visiting ice cream shops seeking that homemade taste that I grew up on.

I didn’t own an ice cream maker, and somehow never got around to buying one so I never even considered making my own, until now.  Though I still don’t own an ice cream maker, I discovered the joy of making ice cream without one.   The result  is a thick, decadent product just like my mom used to make.    It takes a bit longer, but it’s so worth the effort.   My mom always made classic vanilla, which I love, but I love to mix it up a bit with my ice cream.  Do I have a favorite ice cream flavor?  No I don’t, I do not discriminate.


I was on the phone with my sister when she mentioned making pistachio ice cream and that gave me the idea to make my own also.  I didn’t want a bright green, artificially flavored ice cream, so I took the the internet and did some research.   The best way to capture the natural flavor  of pistachio was to  make a paste and add it to the custard.   It’s an extra step that’s so worth the work.


Pistachio Paste

adapted from Cooks.com

1/3 cup blanched and roasted pistachio

1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tbsp water

Preheat oven to 340 degrees.   Soak pistachios in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain, then peel the skin off,  you can do this by rubbing the nuts with a towel.  Transfer to baking sheet and place into preheated oven.  Bake for 7 minutes, remove and cool.

Place nuts in food processor with 1/3 cup sugar and blend for 1-2 minutes until it becomes a fine powder.   Add 1-2 tbsp of water to pistachio and mix well.

Pistachio Ice cream

1 cup milk

2 cups heavy cream

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar

1/4 tsp almond extract

1/3 cup pistachio paste

pinch of salt

Heat milk over a low fire.   Place 6 egg yolks in a bowl with sugar and a pinch of salt and mix well, until pale yellow and thick.   When milk is hot, temper eggs by slowly pouring the hot milk in a steady stream  into the eggs while beating eggs with a whisk.  Do not add milk too quickly or eggs will scramble.


Return egg mixture to a low fire and heat until it’s thickened.  Do not boil or mixture will curdle and separate.   Custard is ready when it coats the back of a spoon.


Pour custard into a large stainless steel bowl and mix in heavy cream and almond extract, allow to cool. You can fastened the cooling process by placing the bowl over an ice bath (a bowl with ice and cold water) and stirring until cooled.    Strain the custard to remove any lumps.  *Fold in 1/3 cup pistachio paste until evenly distributed.


If you have an ice cream maker, you can add the pistachio custard to the ice cream maker and follow the manufactures instructions.


For those like myself who do not have an ice cream maker, place the bowl of custard in the freezer for 1 hour.  After an hour the custard should have started to freeze, there should be a solid ring around the edge of the custard.


Stir vigorously with a spoon or whisk until the custard mixture is smooth.  Return to freezer.


Check ice cream mixture in half an hour intervals and whisk until smooth.  Continue to do this until the mixture is frozen and uniformly smooth.

This should take about 2-3 hours.  Store for up to 3 days in a seal tight container.  It served immediately, the ice cream melts fast.


*For vanilla ice cream, replace the almond extract with pure vanilla bean paste or extract and eliminate the pistachio paste.