Wine & Food

    A sensational scoop

    How to make simple pistachio ice cream

    23 June 2017

    Particularly in weather like this, no-churn ice cream is a godsend. Just the thought of standing over a pan of steaming custard in this sticky, sloppy weather makes me break out in a sweat. None of that is needed for no-churn. Almost implausibly simple, no-churn is one of those delicious kitchen cheats that, once you try, you’ll find yourself employing once a week: softly whipped cream, a bit of condensed milk straight from the can, and your flavouring of choice folded through. Like most of my favourite recipes, the possibilities for variation are endless with no-churn ice cream: strong espresso; bitter, refreshing citrus fruit juice; coconut milk; ripples of honey, elderflower cordial – all produce fast and gorgeous ice creams.

    I’ve chosen pistachio here, because I adore the natural sweetness of the nuts and the aroma they release when crushed – it works so well with the condensed milk, and tastes of holidays and sunshine.

    Nowadays, nut butters fill the shelves of all the big supermarkets and health food shops but I tend to make my own. Please don’t interpret this as virtue-signalling or a sign that I knit my own yoghurt, but rather a combination of my cheapskate side coming to the fore, and the ease and speed with which you can knock one up – and I love the rougher texture that it brings to the ice cream.

    Once in a blue moon, I will feel sufficiently virtuous to peel the skin from my pistachios. This is a long job, and strictly unnecessary for ice cream, but sometimes strangely therapeutic: if you’re hiding from the sun and willing to set aside 30 minutes, then do give it a go, and your ice cream will be brighter, more verdant. Once soaked, the skins will rub off in a tea towel or kitchen paper, revealing the brighter green interior. But proper pistachio ice cream is never going to be the highlighter green that you can find in the supermarkets or certain ice cream parlours. Normally, I’m grown up and embrace this, but occasionally, I’ll add just a little green food colouring, and the result is fun and ridiculous, and kids love it.

    I like serving this with dark chocolate, shaved and sprinkled, or melted and drizzled straight onto the served ice cream. It goes like this…

    ‘No churn’ pistachio ice cream

    Makes: Just under a litre of ice-cream
    Takes: 10 minutes
    Bakes: 4 hours of chilling

    500ml double cream
    397g sweetened condensed milk
    75g shelled pistachios plus two tablespoons of milk, or 75g pistachio paste
    1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

    1. If you’re using shop bought pistachio paste, you can jump right ahead to step 2. If not, pour boiling water over 75g shelled pistachios and leave for 5 minutes, for the nuts to soften. Drain the nuts and transfer to a food processor. Blitz the nuts until they release their oils and form a very thick paste. Loosen with a couple of tablespoons of milk, added slowly, just until the mixture becomes spoonable.
    2. Pour the cream into a large bowl and stir in the salt. Whip to very soft peaks using a whisk: the cream should hold, rather than be runny, but when the whisk is lifted from the cream, it should flop and fold over on itself.
    3. Take a tablespoon of the softly whipped cream and stir it into the pistachio paste, and then pour that pistachio paste into the bowl along with the condensed milk. Fold the mixture until it is free of streaks, and fully combined. Pour into tubs with lids, and freeze for at least four hours, ideally overnight.
    4. Remove from the freezer about 10-20 minutes before serving for the ice cream to soften – in this weather, I tend to do this in the fridge to avoid a pistachio-y puddle!