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!


ajay said...

Looks yummy, cathy. i love gelato. believe it or not, i also bought pistachios for SHF4 but unfortunately was too busy to time.i'll try to join your imbb for sure. regards

Anonymous said...

That sounds so incredibly decadent and delicious!! I will definitely have to try that sometime. Have you ever just eaten the pistachios plain, as is? They are one of my favorite nuts to snack on. That will give you the best idea as to how they taste. I don't think I can quite describe in words the taste, but boy do I love them!

chika said...

Hi Cathy,

It looks yummy! I loved pistachio gelato when I was in Italy, that was my favorite out of an endless list of gelato flavors. :)

I think it has more delicate flavor than other more common nuts, and thus it can be a bit hard to fully bring out its flavor... at any rate I don't know how to describe what pistachios taste like. They taste like pistachios, right? :P

I also have a good supply of pistachios - raw shelled and a jar of paste - back home in Hawaii, and can't wait to use them in cookies, cakes, ice cream, and/or mousse. :)

Cathy said...

Hi Annalyn - thanks! I'm sorry you didn't have time to make your pistachio creation for SHF4 - but maybe you'll post it later anyway? I still have a few more to use up! Glad to hear you'll be participating in IMBB 11!

Hi Alice - actually, it did taste surprising rich considering there was no cream in it. I've eaten a few nuts straight out of the bag, but since I keep the bag in the freezer it probably wasn't under the best of circumstances! I suppose I could warm some up - that might enhance the flavor a little.

Hi Chika - hope you're enjoying your stay in Japan! You're right - I think they do have a much more subtle flavor than the nuts I typically use (pecans and walnuts). I think they were used in the biscotti because of their color rather than their taste. The gelato was the perfect way to get a mouthful of pistachio. Have fun finding ways to use yours!

Stephanie said...

Oh...pistachios. Love 'em. One of my favorite recipes is for a Persian rice; lots of chopped pistachio and and dill. Fantastic!

Cathy said...

Hi Stephanie - that sounds really interesting. I never thought of using the pistachios in a savory dish (don't know why not). I may have to give that a try!

Anonymous said...

Hi My Little Kitchen, Sounds Great to me. I grew up in Germany and love such Itailian ice cream. But what about Hazlenut Gelato...:)
Try it the same way, I think you will like it even better. Drizzle some warm Nutella that you mixed with half/half (to thin). My god in heaven...bring me back to earth.
take care. Wolfgang

Cathy said...

Wolfgang - that sounds fantastic! I've got some hazelnuts in the freezer - I'm going to have to try that before summer is over!