Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Pistachio Tart Cherry Ice Cream

This stuff is amazing.

But I know what you're thinking, who really makes their own ice cream?  I do... sometimes.

A few years ago I got a KitchenAid freezer bowl attachment for Christmas (read: exchanged a pretty cashmere sweater that was under the tree and didn't fit).  I used it once the first year.  It takes forethought (can I really think about what I want to make fifteen hours in advance?). It takes up a lot of space (my freezer is full of breakfast burritos and ling ling spring rolls, so I put it at my boyfriend's. He loves those 9am phone calls: "will you pleeeeease put the ice cream maker in the freezer? I think its under the shelf where your big chili pots are, and if it isn't there check next to the oven or maybe its above the stove and and and and). Then you have to wait even longer, because after you freeze it in the freezer bowl, you have to freeze the custard base in the regular freezer. For three more hours. A lot of waiting. It can be a three day process if you do it the way I do (that is, not planning ahead).

 My method of ice cream consumption is not like what I imagine a typical adults to be. I eat right from the pint (all good flavors come solely in pint form) and I only have about four spoonfuls while standing in the kitchen. Hopefully I have the forethought to close the freezer door while I savor my treat.  This usually happens after a nice run when my face is bright red and I'm probably wearing spandex so short it makes C Fierce cringe (she is definitely not the exhibitionist of the pair. I can't help it, my legs are, like Mama Fierce's, my best asset).

Suffice it to say a pint goes a long way in my freezer, so I don't just make stuff on a whim. Sure, it may begin as such, but it has to fester for a while before I bring it to fruition (or, fruit-ition).  After those gorgeous Irish Flags I made, I got really into pistachios. Though my tart cherry phase is starting to wane, this recipe found me at just the right moment: the apex of my two obsessions.

So here it is, and maybe you wont make it yourself (I don't blame you, really, you have to have the expensive equipment and the desire to do something that costs three times as much and takes three days out of your life when you could buy it for $4.50 at a convenience store which we all know is a total rip off, Target has them on sale at 2/$5 almost every other week in the summer), but the next time you see something resembling it, say at Jeni's or Splendora's, give it a try. And then remember that yes, you can make that at home. And it will taste better because you did it yourself.

Leftover egg whites? try this site. Or, make these.

Pistachio Tart Cherry Ice Cream
un-adapted from Williams Sonoma Ice Cream (I swear, I'll branch out sometime soon)

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups cream
1 cup coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios (you may want to put these through a colander or sieve of some sort after chopping to avoid graininess)
1 cup coarsely chopped tart dried cherries
4 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, 1 cup of the cream, 1/2 cup cherries and 1/2 cup pistachios. Cook over medium heat just until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, about five minutes. Remove from heat, let steep 20 minutes.

Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Press solids to remove all liquid. Discard solid. Return milk to saucepan.

Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, sugar, remaining 1/2 cup cream in a bowl, whisk until smooth.

Gradually whisk about 1/2 cup of the warm milk mixture into the egg mixture until smooth. Pour egg mixture into saucepan and cook on medium heat, stirring constantly. You'll want to use a wooden spoon here as it is easier to get the custard off of the pan. Keep the custard at a low simmer until it coats the back of the spoon and a finger drawn on it leaves a clear trail. Do not let the custard boil! Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl, add vanilla.

Place the bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice cubes and water, stirring occasionally until cool (about 20-30 minutes). Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the surface directly to avoid a skin forming. Refrigerate until cold, at least 3 hours or up to 24 (see?? all this waitiing!).

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's directions. Once your custard is almost frozen and has the consistency of whipped cream, add remaining pistachios and cherries. Churn/stir just until mixed. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days. But really, we know you won't wait three days to try it.

Makes about a quart.

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