Pistachio Gelato

a bowl of homemade pistachio gelato
Ninety-four degrees and not even 11:00 a.m. yet. My walk this morning, more than any other morning this summer, brought to mind summertime memories of my childhood. My family didn’t spend the season at our grandparent’s lakefront cottage. There was no lake. There was no cottage. Our summers were the long days of middle-class suburban kids in Anaheim. Our summers were dusty, scorched, pavement summers. I’d wake up late morning, suffocating from the stifling air of my bedroom – air conditioning was an unnecessary luxury. I’d throw on shorts and a tank top and amble, on summer-calloused bare feet, to a friend’s house. At her home, as sweltering as my own and stocked with grape Otter Pops, we’d make plans to stay cool for the day. None of us had a pool, except one older girl, who doled out invites sparingly, and only to those she deemed worthy (I was rarely worthy). My favorite days were those when we combined funds to buy a bag of water balloons from Hanshaw’s liquor store and compete in boys-against-girls neighborhood balloon fights that always seemed to end with turning the hose on each other. On special summer occasions, like July 4th, my family would hand-churn ice cream in the late afternoon.

Pistachio Gelato

  • Servings: 1 ½ quarts
  • Print
Don’t be surprised by the color – the bright green of most pistachio products is from additional coloring. The final color will be brighter green if you take the time to remove the pistachio skins (I did not). Measurements are in grams.


  • 955 grams 2% milk
  • 215 grams sugar
  • 54 grams corn syrup
  • 1 gram salt
  • 33 grams powdered milk
  • 1 gram guar gum
  • 1 gram carob
  • 215 grams shelled pistachios, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 2 grams vanilla


  1. Heat milk to 104 degrees. Add sugar, corn syrup and salt. Continue heating and stirring milk mixture until sugar is dissolved. At 144 degrees, add powdered milk mixed well with guar gum and carob. Stir well to incorporate. Heat milk to 194 degrees to pasteurize and immediately remove from heat.
  2. Pulse pistachios in a food processor until chopped (don’t chop them fine). Add a cup of the hot milk mixture and process well.
  3. Add nut mixture from food processor to remaining milk mixture. Cool milk mixture in an ice bath, adding vanilla when mixture’s temperature is reduced to 144 degrees. When mixture has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight.
  4. The next day, strain gelato mixture pressing on the nuts to extract maximum flavor. Make gelato in ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Garnish with additional chopped pistachios if desired.


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