This Pistachio ice cream without ice cream maker is one of the best ice cream recipes. It’s made from scratch with real pistachios and everyone will ask you for the recipe!
I made this real pistachio ice cream a few times until I got the texture right, but I have to say that the flavor of each batch was so good that I really couldn’t stop eating it!
The base for this recipe is my homemade vanilla ice cream without an ice cream machine. If you’ve already made it you know how creamy and full of flavor this vanilla ice cream is, so I figured it would be the perfect canvas for the pistachio flavor to shine!
I have to say that this pistachio ice cream is almost as good as an Italian gelato. However, the good thing is that you don’t have to travel to Rome to enjoy this delicious dessert. A short trip to your kitchen will do. And since this recipe will make you about 32 scoops of ice cream, you will be going to your kitchen many times!
Many people like to pair pistachios with something rose-flavored, which honestly is a great combination since both flavors are delicate and complement each other perfectly. That’s why this pistachio ice cream with rosewater buttercream is a favorite of many. I like to keep my ice cream plain, but you can certainly mix some rose petals, chopped pistachio nuts or mini chocolate chips to the mixture before freezing it.
And if you’re feeling fancy, pair your pistachio ice cream with this Turkish delight no-churn ice cream with a delicious rose flavor.
How do you make pistachio ice cream from scratch?
- First you make the base: You add the pistachios, the corn starch, the milk, the cream and the egg yolks to a blender and blend until you get a smooth mixture. Then you cook the mixture over medium heat until it thickens.
- Add the sweet condensed milk: Once the base is cooked, you add the sweet condensed milk. The sweet condensed milk will add enough sweetness and helps to keep the ice cream soft and creamy.
- Whip the heavy cream: Whip the heavy cream until stiff peaks form. This step aerates the mixture something that is also important for achieving the right texture.
- Mix the base with the whipped cream: Once the heavy cream reaches the stiff peaks stage, add the base and beat with the electric mixer until the mixture is light and fluffy.
- Freeze: Transfer to a container and store in the freezer overnight.
What gives pistachio ice cream its flavor?
Most commercial pistachio ice cream types have a lot of artificial flavors and even some of them may not have any pistachios at all listed in the ingredient list.
This no-churn pistachio ice cream is made with real pistachios, which means that you should try and get the most flavorful pistachio nuts you can find. It also has a combination of aromatics specially designed to intensify the pistachio flavor. But more on this on the next paragraph!
Raw or roasted Pistachios?
Raw pistachios are not good for this recipe because they don’t have strong flavor. Roasted pistachios are what you seek for this recipe.
However, even when pistachios are roasted they have a delicate flavor. If we add too much of them, we’re going to ruin the texture of the ice cream, so we need to find a way to intensify the pistachio flavor. Serious eats says to add orange zest and rosemary for this purpose because the essential oils of the orange and rosemary resemble to those of pistachios.
I’ve come up with another combination which I think you’ll love.
So, my favorite “flavor bouquet” to intensify the pistachio taste is:
- orange zest
- almond extract
- vanilla extract
I believe that this is by far the BEST flavor combination and I literally can’t stop eating this ice cream once I dip my spoon into the container. However, note that you won’t need to add too much of these aromatics since you don’t want to overpower the pistachio flavor. A little goes a long way!
What makes pistachio ice cream green?
Pistachios are naturally green, and when added to creams and desserts they give a nice pale green color. If you make the extra effort and remove the skins the color will be even greener.
I normally don’t use any food coloring, but for the purposes of the video I used a small amount of green, blue and yellow food coloring (I probably didn’t need the green because blue mixed with yellow gives green) just to intensify the green color and make it look like the ice cream you see in the ice cream shops.
The best way to add the color is to transfer a few tablespoons of the finished mixture to a a small bowl, add the coloring, mix and then incorporate some of the colored mixture with the ice cream until you get the desired color. You’ll probably have to add more blue than yellow.
Is pistachio ice cream made with pistachios?
Yes, real pistachio ice cream is made with real pistachio nuts. However, many store-bought ice creams may have artificial flavors and some are heavy on the almond extract, so this pistachio ice cream with a real pistachio taste may have a slightly different flavor than the one you are used too. But I guarantee you that you’ll like it even more!
What goes well with pistachio ice cream?
I would personally avoid ingredients with a strong character/flavor as they can overpower the delicate taste of pistachios. Having said that, some things you can try are:
- 1 1/4 cups (7.8 oz / 220 grams) roasted pistachios (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons (15 grams) cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- a pinch of salt
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (120 grams) caster sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) heavy cream, 35% fat
- 2 yolks from large eggs
- 1 can (400 grams / 14 oz) sweetened condensed milk (cold from the fridge)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil or a neutral tasting vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 tablespoons vodka
- 2 1/2 cups (600 grams) very cold heavy cream, 35% fat
Blend: Transfer the pistachios, the cornstarch the orange zest, the cinnamon, the salt, the white sugar, the milk, the heavy cream and the egg yolks to a blender. Blend on high until you get a smooth mixture like a thick smoothie.
Cook: Transfer the pistachio mixture to a pot and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until the mixture is bubbly. This will cook the eggs and the cornstarch.
Add the sweet condensed milk: Transfer the cooked pistachio mixture to a bowl and add the sweet condensed milk, the coconut oil, the vanilla extract, the almond extract and the vodka. Mix well with a spatula until everything is combined. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until cold.
Whip the cream: Transfer the heavy cream to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form (be careful not to overbeat because it will separate).
Mix: Add the cold pistachio mixture to the whipped cream in three batches, beating well after each addition. Continue beating until the mixture is light and fluffy. Incorporating as much air as possible will make the ice cream softer.
Freeze: Transfer the mixture to freezer-safe container a little more than 2 liters capacity and freeze overnight.
Serve: For the best texture, let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes (depending on your freezer and the room temperature you may need a few minutes less or more).
- This recipe makes about 2 liters, approximately 32 scoops (1/4 cup or 60ml each scoop).
- 2 1/2 cups pistachios with shells (about 11.6 oz / 330 grams) will give you approximately 1 1/4 cup shelled pistachios (7.8 oz / 220 grams).
- I usually don’t add any food coloring, but to make this video I used green, a little bit of blue and a tiny bit of yellow.
- Pistachio butter will also work for this recipe, but it is more expensive.
How to prepare the pistachios:
- If you use roasted, unsalted pistachios you can add them to the blender as is or you can soak them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and rinse well and rub with a towel to remove most of the skins. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 15 minutes to dry them and refresh their taste. Removing the skins will result in a slightly greener color.
- If you use roasted and salted pistachios you have to rinse them very well with plenty of water to remove most of the salt. If you want to remove the skins (this is optional but you’ll get better results) then soak them in boiling water for 10-15 minutes, then drain and rinse well and rub with a towel to remove most of the skins. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (175°C) for 15 minutes to dry them and refresh their taste.
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