Pistachio ice cream is one of those flavours that tend to polarise. For some reason, people either love or loathe it due to its very distinct flavour. Personally, I was not a huge fan of it as a kid but have since grown to love it. Especially, when it is home made and bursting with flavour. This pistachio ice cream is rich, delicious and extra creamy.
Conventional pistachio ice cream is often distinctively green but doesn’t be fooled because this is achieved by adding green colouring. Homemade pistachio ice cream is more on the beige side when made from scratch. To get it to a lovely shade of green you can choose any food colouring you like. I went with matcha (green tea powder) because it is what I always have at home.
But no matter if you leave your ice cream beige or give it the most intense shade of green it will be delicious. There are various ways to make this ice cream, but I prefer the approach of slighting toasting the pistachios and blending them up with a portion of the ice cream base. This way all of the pistachios remain in the ice cream, and none of them goes to waste.
Pistachios have several health benefits ranging from providing you with a good amount of antioxidants to lowering bad cholesterol. They also have the lowest calorie content while carrying the largest amount of protein among all nuts. Also, you benefit from their iron, calcium and zinc content while the healthy fats of the nuts give this ice cream an incredibly soft texture.
If you prefer to have some pistachios in the base, then add them to the base to the ice cream machine. I love my ice cream silky and pure and prefer to scatter some crushed pistachios on top when serving it.
Pistachio Ice Cream
- 2 full fat coconut milk* can size : 400ml (13-15oz)
- 4 tbsp cane sugar or any other light coloured sweetener
- 1 pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp arrow root powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 100 g pistachios shelled and slightly toasted
- 2 tsp matcha green tea powder - optional for colouring
- Pour the contents of the coconut milk cans into a saucepan. If it is the first time you use coconut milk in a can then don’t be alarmed by seeing a thick layer of a rather solid cream and a big part of milky water. That is normal. It happens because the coconut milk separates inside the can. Take a whisk and stir until everything is evenly combined.
- Take about 125 ml (1/2 cup) of the coconut milk out of the pan and set aside in a small bowl. Add the arrow root powder to the small portion of coconut milk in the small bowl. The arrowroot powder will make sure the base thickens once this is added to the bigger pan. Mix until it is perfectly combined and place aside for now.
- Take another 250ml (1 cup) out of the pot and blend it with the pistachios until it turns very creamy.
- Return to the saucepan and add the 4 tbsp of cane sugar, salt and pistachio mixture. Gently heat over low to medium heat and stir until the sweetener is dissolved and all is well combined. Heat until warm but not boiling.
- Pour the arrow root powder and coconut mixture into the pot and whisk. Increase the heat to medium and keep whisking – don’t leave the pot now. Make sure to whisk it now and then while making sure the heat is not too high. It is crucial never to let it come to a boil.
- In about 5-7 minutes the arrow root powder will thicken the mixture, and you will be left with a beautiful ice cream base that only needs chilling in the fridge. You will know it is done when you can draw a line with a fingertip on the back of a wooden spoon.
- I chill my ice cream base in a small metal bowl and place a plate on top of it. You will have a small layer of skin forming on the top of the mixture though you can prevent that by stirring it every 10 minutes while it cools down. It is not necessary though because the processing in the ice cream machine usually takes care of it.
- While the ice cream base is chilling, you can prep the matcha powder by adding it to a small cup and adding 4 tbsp of hot water to it. Stir and let it cool down.
- The ice cream base should be fully cooled down before you pour it into your ice cream maker. Pour the ice cream base and the brewed and cooled down matcha into the ice cream maker and follow it's instructions.
- Pour the ice cream into a suitable container and cover it with wax paper**. Leave it in the freezer for another 2 hours. Doing this will give you the perfect ice cream that can be scooped neatly. To serve take it out of the freezer for a few minutes to soften. Scoop it into bowls and serve with a few crushed pistachios or simply on its own.