Friday, January 07, 2005
SHF 4 – Pistachio Gelato
Pistachios are fairly new to me. My first pistachio purchase was a mere two months ago when I bought a one pound bag of shelled pistachios in order to make Holiday Biscotti for IMBB 10. While I enjoyed the biscotti, I was frustrated that I couldn’t discern a distinctive pistachio flavor.
I mentioned to a friend that I was at a loss to describe or even recognize what pistachios taste like and asked her how she would describe the taste. She said when she thought of pistachios she thought of pistachio ice cream (which she thought had sort of a minty flavor), but she had her doubts as to whether that was truly pistachio. This conversation took place just days before I began looking for something to make for Sugar High Friday #4.
Sugar High Friday is the creation of Jennifer at The Domestic Goddess. It is a blogging event in which participants prepare something sweet which incorporates the theme ingredient and share the results by posting to their blog on the designated day. This time around it is hosted by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant and the theme is nuts.
It didn’t occur to me at first to make something with pistachios. Since I am hosting a birthday party tomorrow, I spent quite a bit of time hunting for a cake recipe that featured nuts, would be suitable as a birthday cake, and would appeal to both adults and small children, but I came up empty. (Actually – I later found a recipe in The Wooden Spoon Dessert Book for a Toasted-Butter-Pecan Cake that sounds awesome. I'll be making it tonight and serving it tomorrow - so I'll have to tell you about that another time.)
After I widened my search to include anything made with nuts, I came upon a recipe for Pistachio Gelato at Leite’s Culinaria. Perfect! It appealed to me because it would be simple to make, I had pistachios to use up, and best of all – I might finally figure out what pistachios taste like.
The gelato base consists of whole milk and sugar. These are heated together and then ground pistachios are added and the mixture is allowed to steep overnight in the refrigerator. Just before freezing the gelato, you strain out the ground pistachios (though some fine bits find their way in, giving the finished gelato a nice texture). After fifteen to twenty minutes in the ice cream maker and an hour in the freezer to firm it up, you’ve got yourself some mighty fine gelato!
I suppose you might be wondering – does she know what pistachios taste like yet? Well, I’m not sure I can put it into words, but I think yes. I think the next time I taste it I’ll know it, and I’ll be thinking … mmmmm, pistachio!