A Thrify Thursdays post that fails.

Pistashio ice cream is a rare treat for us. Me, because I’m diabetic and shouldn’t eat such things, and him because it’s really hard to find locally. I got a Kitchen Aide ice cream maker for Christmas and I’ve used it once before to make the triple chocolate ice cream from their recipe book. The results were great, but didn’t taste as good as I thought they should. This time around, I was determined to try a straightforward and simple recipe.

The websearch for the recipe took some time. I finally settled on the Epicurious version (Originally published in Bon Appétit January 1999), because it had very few ingredients and seemed simple to make.

The Kitchen Aide ice cream maker resides in my freezer, so it was ready to be used.
I started by toasting some pistachios on the stovetop. It’s a slow process. They went into a cold and un-buttered pan, and I turned the heat to high. As soon as the pan got hot, I cranked the temperature down to almost nil and gave the pan a good shake. To my surprise the nuts stayed in the pan. I shook the pan every few minutes that I stood at the stove.

I used a food processor to grind the pistachios down, but I goofed and used all the sugar. I took out 1 1/4 cups of the grind, and set the rest aside. The grind went into a pot with 2 cups of 15% cream. The first time I made ice cream I let it boil, and it was ruined (we had really good chocolate milk that night though). So this time I watched the milk carefully, standing over it and stirring it gently with a spatula.

When the first hint of bubbles began to form on the surface, I took it off the heat and added the vanilla. The original recipe calls for almond extract. I had some, but I have way more vanilla (and prefer its flavour in most things).

I divided 4 eggs from their yokes, and stored the egg whites separately (we eat them as egg extenders in the morning). The eggs seemed a bit small, so I divided a fifth one. Then I whisked the eggs with the amount of grind I previously set aside. It thickened really quickly. I added a splash of the cooling milk mixture, whisked again, then repeated the proceedure until all the milk was in the egg mixture.

Everything went back into the saucepan and back on the heat. Once again, I watched it, stiring gently. This time I waited until the liquid began to shimmer. I then dragged the back of the spoon across the top. When I held the spoon up vertically, the liquid clung to the back of the spoon. The sauce came off the heat and I poured it through a very fine sive into a metal mixing bowl.

The remaining grind looked too good to throw away, so after mashing it relentlessly agains the sive, I put it in a small bowl and set it aside.

I covered the metal bowl with saran wrap and put an elastic around its outter edge. The bowl then went out onto the back porch to cool (it was -14C outside). When I came back in I turned off the heat under the pistashios. They were darker than when I started, had almost no crunch left to them when eaten, and smelled amazing.

I set the timer for 2 hours, and went off to make dinner. (Chicken Curry in a Hurry by Cheap, Healthy, good).

After dinner (the timer had gone off a while back), I brought the bowl in and removed the cover. I added 1 cup of whipping cream and the toasted pistashios, and whisked the contents together. I forgot to chop the toasted pistashios, as the original recipe called for–but in the end it didn’t really matter.

Everything was then poured into my ice cream maker, I set up the blade, and turned the device on for 20 minutes, and set the timer. When the timer went off, I turned off the device, removed the blade from the bowl, covered it with saran wrap and and put an elastic around its outter edge. It then went outside for the night.

In the morning, before going to work, we brough the ice cream maker bowl inside and put it in the freezer. Both of us were tempted, but we didn’t try a taste or even peak under the well-frosted saran wrap.

After dinner (BBQ steak, baby potatoes, grilled asparagus & green beans–the temperature was -8 by the way), I took the ice cream out of the freezer and served us each a scoop or two. I then transferred the remaining ice cream into a smaller plastic bowl with a tight fitting lid.

The result was fantastic. Smooth, creamy and full of pistashio flavour.

The recipe says the ice cream can be made up to 3 days ahead, but I strongly doubt the resulting 3 cups of ice cream will last anywhere that long in my house.

Ingredients & Instructions:

1 cup pistachios, unsalted shelled
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1. Finely grind 1 cup pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor.
2 cups 15% cream 2. Bring milk and ground pistachio mixture to boil in heavy large saucepan. Remove from heat.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 3. Mix in vanilla extract.
4 large egg yolks 4. Whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup sugar in medium bowl.
5. Gradually whisk in hot milk mixture.
6. Return custard to saucepan.
7. Cook over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, stirring constantly, about 10 minutes (do not boil).
8. Strain into large bowl.
9. Chill until cold, about 2 hours.
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 cup pistachios, unsalted shelled, toasted
10. Stir 1 cup whipping cream and chopped pistachios into the custard.
11. Process mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.
12. Transfer to container and freeze.

So, what was the result of this frugal experiment?

Pistachio’s (shelled and unsalted) 2 cups = $8.50 = $08.5000
15% cream = $2.9900 = $02.9900
whipping cream = $4.29 (used half) = $01.4950
Eggs (12) = $1.89 (used 5) =$00.7875
Total cost: = $13.7725

Considering that this process made only 0.70 liters of ice cream (3 cups); and the most expensive store-bought is about $9 for a similar amount–there really was no savings in making this at home. I don’t really want to call this experiment a failure because it tasted so good; but it wasn’t thrifty.