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Pistachio Ice Cream

Pistachio Ice Cream

This recipe for pistachio ice cream is one that I've developed by a trial and error process, starting with the proportions of milk, eggs and sugar in Jean-George Vongerichten's ice cream recipes. We like it because it's not too sweet and the almond taste is muted, so the pistachio flavor comes through. Last night I served it with fresh strawberries (tossed in honey and mint with a squeeze of lemon juice) and biscotti.

Pistachio Ice Cream

Note: this recipe requires an ice-cream maker. 

10 half-cup servings


  • 2 cups unsalted shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 cup granulated no-calorie sweetener, such as Splenda
  • 3 cup whole milk
  • 1/8 teaspoon (scant) almond extract
  • 6 large egg yolks


1. Grind 1 cup of the pistachios and 1/4 cup of the sweetener to a powder in a food processor. 

2. Mix the pistachio-sweetener powder with 2 cups of the milk and bring to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Remove from heat. 

3. Mix almond extract into the pistachio-milk mixture.

4. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sweetener in a medium bowl until yolks are a lighter yellow.

5. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture by spoonsful. Return the mixture to the saucepan. 

6. Cook the egg-milk mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and leaves a path when a spoon is drawn across it (about 10 minutes). Do not allow to boil. If a kitchen thermometer is available, remove from heat when the mixture reaches 180º. 

7. Strain the cooked egg-milk mixture through a sieve (use a rubber spatula to force it through the mesh if it's too thick). Chill until cold, at least 2 hours. 

8. Stir in the remaining cup of milk.

9. Chop the remaining cup of pistachios and add to the ice cream mix. 

10. Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze. 

Can be prepared up to 3 days ahead.

Nutritional Estimate 10 Half-Cup Servings. Per serving: 152 Calories; 7 g Total Carbs; 1 g Dietary Fiber; 5 g Sugars; 11 g Fat; 157 mg Cholesterol; 36 mg Sodium; 7 g Protein. Weight Watchers: 4 points.


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Found your site from Nupur's blog. Your pistachio ice cream really sounds decadent. Jean George's recipes usually turn out well. Did you add the light green color to the ice cream?

Thanks for the comment, Mika. It's not a Jean-George recipe per se, it's just that after trying a lot of ice cream formulas I've found that I like the proportions of milk, sugar and eggs that he uses in the ones in the book I when I'm trying something new I start with that set of ingredients...About the green color: one of the fun things about making pistachio ice cream is that you find out that the green color comes from the pistachios! The milk actually turns green when you cook it. This one actually wasn't as green as some I've done so I guess it has to do with the specific type of pistachios...and by the way, if you want decadent, replace half the milk with heavy cream. Now we're talking decadent!

Interesting technique of blending in nut flour -- is the resulting texture smooth or grainy? I make a lovely pistachio gelato (Dad's favorite) by infusing whole milk/sugar with toasted, chopped nuts on the stove, then letting it mature overnight in the fridge. I add a pinch of salt and a dash vanilla, then strain the nuts to make a smooth, creamy gelato (and pistachio cookies -- I can't see throwing away all those nuts, so I add an egg, a bit of flour and bake up cookies to serve with the gelato). My dad thanks you in advance for the new recipe to try out on him...

Hi M...thanks for your interest and comment...My recipe doesn't sound that different from yours in that I strain the custard after it is thickened and before it's frozen. Since at the end I add chopped nuts (because I like the crunch) there are some smaller fragments introduced, but on the whole it's smooth. Sieving the chopped nuts to remove the finer particles can make it more so, if you wish. Nice idea about the leftover chopped nuts - that will definitely become part of my pistachio ice cream routine! Thanks...

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