One of the culinary highlights of a recent trip to Florence was the gelato. Naturally in the name of research I wanted to try as many flavours as possible: lemon and basil, tea and rose and even liquorice. However, the hands down winner was the classic pistachio; nutty, creamy and very green. When I came back, I was keen to keep some of that Florence magic. So, what better way than to master pistachio gelato?
For me there is only once ice cream maker to go to for a recipe; David Lebovitz. His book, The Perfect Scoop, is devoted to ice cream, gelato and sorbet. His website is pretty cool too: www.davidlebovitz.com. David says that the key to making a truly outstanding gelato is the quality of the pistachio cream. The secret is to use a cream made with at least 40% Sicilian Bronte pistachios. These pistachios are often used in patisserie because of their beautiful green colour. I bought my pistachio cream in Florence, but you can buy it on the internet. It takes a while to make this gelato as the milk needs to chill, preferably overnight before the pistachio cream can be added. Also, you do need an ice cream maker. I can guarantee it’s worth it.
Ingredients (makes about 3/4 litres)
500ml whole milk
65g caster sugar (I only used 50g)
2 tablespoons corn flour
200g Bronte pistachio cream (my jar was 190g)
a few drops of lemon or orange juice
1. Make a slurry by mixing the 125ml of the milk with the corn flour, mixing until the flour 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 corn flour 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 cream 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.