Friday 3 September 2010


Homemade Pistachio Ice-cream/Hjemmelavet Pistacieis/开心果冰淇淋[kāi xīn guǒ bīng qí lín]


- 2 cups (480ml) whole fresh milk (3.5% fat)
- 75g homemade pistachio paste (made from 60g unsalted pistachios and 15g almonds)
- 75g chopped unsalted pistachios
- ½ cup maple syrup or 90g brown sugar
- 1 TBS almond butter
- 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract (optional, you can also use commercial ones or leave it out altogether if you are serving children)
- 2 egg yolks
- 75 ml whip cream (38% fat) (optional, replace it with fresh milk if you skip this)

1. Grind ½ cup of pistachios and 1/8 cup almonds in a blender until it turned into a paste.

2. Heat milk in a sauce pan, add pistachio paste, then bring to boil and remove from the fire.

3. Stir in 1/4 cup of the maple syrup/45g brown sugar, vanilla extract, almond butter and chopped pistachios and let it sit for 10 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, beat egg yolk and the other ¼ cup maple syrup/45g brown sugar separately.

5. Pour egg yolk mixture into the saucepan, whisk well and heat to 83°C (181°F) to thicken the mixture. Use a thermometer to test the temperature. Do not exceed 83°C (181°F), or else it will curdle!**

6. Pour immediately into a cold bowl and put it in the fridge for 12 hours or as soon as it becomes cold.

7. Pour whipping cream into a bowl and whip with a hand-mixer until it obtains a yogurt like consistency (do this only when you are about to make ice-cream).

8. When the mixture is cold after being in the fridge, mix in whipping cream and churn it in your ice-cream machine for 40-50 minutes.

9. Serve and enjoy!

* Egg yolks improve the texture of ice-cream and give it a richer and smoother taste.

** If the mixture curdles, use a blender to smoothen it.

Additional Information:
I never like pistachio ice-cream, but pistachio ice-cream is my Significant Other's favourite ice-cream. He just LOVES pistachio ice-cream. I am in the mood for making ice-cream. So instead of making my favourite ice-cream, I decided to make my Significant Other's favourite ice-cream, because that is one demonstration of love – sacrificing oneself for the another. Here the sacrifice is in terms of taste bud (and taste bud is not a small sacrifice – but a big one in a cross-cultural marriage. Many cross-cultural marriages fail, because of challenges and disagreement on things as basic as everyday food). I wanted to surprise him and hand-made the pistachio ice-cream myself :-)

Pistachio ice-cream is also my mother-in-law’s favourite ice-cream. I will serve it to her, the next time she visits us. I asked my Significant Other, how he grew to love pistachio ice-cream. He said that when he was a kid, and was too young to know what to choose for ice-cream, his mother would always choose pistachio ice-cream for him, because she loves pistachio ice-cream. Aaaa… I see, another case example of how taste-bud is shaped from childhood. I wonder whether he likes pistachio ice-cream more for the taste, or more for the memories it evokes. So I asked him, and he answered childhood memories.

Commercial pistachio ice-cream is green in colour, but I don’t like to use artificial colouring. So I keep mine natural, and thus it has a more yellowish green look.

Pistachios are very expensive in Danish supermarket, and they are all salted. Thus, I was so happy when I found the unsalted shelled pistachios at Kabul’s middle-eastern shop in Chinatown, but it is expensive too – 40DKK/9 SGD for 200g. I even found the fresh chopped pistachios in the Kabul shop, although it is very expensive – 40 DKK/9 SGD for 140g. I add the fresh chopped pistachios into the ice-cream, so that whole bits pistachios nut can be tasted. The nuts alone used in this ice-cream cost me 30DKK/7.50 SGD!!! Including the milk and all, it would cost me 50DKK/11 SGD, which is more expensive than commercial pistachio ice-cream. But it is made with all fresh and real ingredients. Commercial ice-cream is cheaper because there aren’t many real pistachios in it but plain artificial flavouring, and it is expensive because I use organic eggs, organic milk and organic whip cream. It is a once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence, thus it should be alright, I reckon.

It has been such great fun and excitement making my own ice-cream, and I get a great sense of satisfaction and fulfillment eating it. But it is still not that healthy – the sugar, egg yolk and the whip cream!!! I use all these, because I make this specially for my Significant Other. If I make it for myself, I will use half the sugar and skip the whip cream, and it will still be ok for my taste bud.

And the verdict from my Significant Other? My ice-cream tasted very good, but didn’t taste much of pistachios. I think it is because my Significant Other is used to the artificial pistachio flavouring, and not used to real pistachios. Another case example of taste-bud shaping of childhood. And me? After tasting the real pistachio ice-cream, I begin to love pistachio ice-cream, but I still don’t like the commercial ones.

I don’t have a cooking thermometer, so I use the thermometer from Weber Grill to measure the temperature. But you don't have to be so precise. I am a very precise person, thus I get great satisfaction taking the trouble to use the thermometer.


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