We have had some truly hot, summery weather recently, perfect for ice cream. Not that I think there is ever a bad time for ice cream, but you can't deny that it is much more satisfying when eaten in the sunshine; preferably on a beach.
Though living in Birmingham there is a definite shortage of beaches nearby... In the garden then.
I am a bit of an ice cream fiend - I would happily eat it every day, several times a day if I could, and I have never met an ice cream flavour that I didn't like.
That being said, I used to always avoid pistachio ice cream, I would eat it if there was nothing else, but there were far more interesting flavours to be had.
My tastes have changed however and now it is a flavour that I actually truly enjoy; and I enjoyed it all the more when I went and added chocolate to it!
Stracciatella is an easy way to jazz up any plain ice cream flavour; traditionally the base would be plain milk or vanilla ice cream, but the effect of drizzling melted chocolate into cold, churning ice cream to create thin flakes works well with lots of different flavours.
Of course you can omit it and just have plain pistachio ice cream, but I much prefer the version with chocolate in it.
The ice cream base is thickened with cornflour rather than egg yolks so there are no flavours competing with the pistachio, and as a bonus it is suitable for anyone who happens to have an egg allergy.
The pistachio taste comes through strongly as I first toasted the pistachios a little to intensify the flavour, then blended them to a puree with the milk; the flavour deepens even more if you make the base the day before you churn the ice cream and let it sit in the fridge overnight.
I added a couple of drops of green food colouring as the natural pistachio colour can be a bit sludge-like; just add enough to brighten the green a little though, too much and it will look unnatural or like mint choc chip ice cream rather than pistachio.
Pistachio Stracciatella Ice Cream
- 100 g (3.5oz) shelled roasted pistachios
- 450 ml (scant 2 cups) full fat milk (or soy/oat/cashew milk)
- 170 g (¾ cup + 2tbsp) caster sugar
- 300 ml (1 + ¼ cups) double (heavy) cream (or vegan cream such as Elmlea double or coconut cream)
- pinch salt
- 25 g (3 tbsp) cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 tbsp full fat milk (or soy/oat/cashew milk)
- a couple of drops of green food colouring (optional)
- 140 g (5oz) dark chocolate, chopped
- Gently toast the pistachios in a heavy bottomed frying pan until they smell nutty; allow to cool a little then finely chop them.
- Put the chopped pistachios in a saucepan with the milk and sugar, heat until almost simmering and the sugar has dissolved then remove from the heat and use a stick blender to blitz the mixture until it is completely smooth.
- Add the cream and salt and return the pan to the heat; mix the cornflour with the 2tbsp of milk to make a slurry and whisk it into the pistachio cream. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and come up to the boil, continue to cook for another minute or so, while whisking, to cook out the cornflour.
- Pour into a bowl, cover and allow to cool, refrigerate until completely cold. If you like you can whisk in a couple of drops of green food colouring to accentuate the pistachio's colour; don't add so much that it looks fake though!
- Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions. About five minutes before the ice cream is finished churning, melt the chocolate and pour it into a ziplock bag or disposable piping bag; snip off the tiniest corner of the bag and drizzle the chocolate in a thin stream onto the churning ice cream, as it hits the cold ice cream it will solidify and break into small shards. Try to avoid pouring the chocolate onto the beaters.
- Scrape the ice cream into a container and freeze for a couple of hours until firm before serving.