Talk about mixed feelings. Pistachio gelato is something I look forward to on every trip to Italy. And I just made it in my very own kitchen. I should be jumping for joy. Part of me is – but part of me is melancholic.
I’ve felt this before. We used to anticipate trips to Paris to gorge ourselves on pains au chocolat, eclairs, and other wonderful treats. But in the past year or so, a truly exceptional patisserie has opened up within a 5 minute drive from our home. The head baker, Angelo, is a rock star in my world. I am stunned at the quality they can put out, even across a broad range of items. A truly ‘world class’ joint. To make matters worse, we are able to go on Friday mornings, when they are baking loads of product for the coming weekend rush, and are pumping out super-fresh, just-out-of-the-oven pastries. Danishes that you pick up, and the center nearly falls out as the pastry’s still not cooled enough to hold it firmly. It is glorious. The downside is that on our recent trip to Paris, I felt myself utterly unexcited with the pastries. I get it too good at home now.
Hence my melancholy attached to executing what it is quite possibly the best pistachio gelato I have ever had. It no longer belongs exclusively to the trips to Italy. Worse, I may have some of the less-good gelato in Italy, and think ‘ah, it’s okay, but I can make it better at home’. Tragic.
[inspired by recipe on epicurious.com]
100 g unsalted shelled pistachios [+ some for garnish]150 g sugar [I keep a stash of vanilla bean shells in mine]2 cups whole milk – best you can find
1/2 tsp sweet almond extract [they make ‘bitter’ as well]5 large egg yolks
Finely grind pistachios and roughly 1/3 of the sugar in food processor or mortar and pestle. Whisk this into the milk and almond extract. Proceed as usual for custard-based ice cream.