I'd Rather Eat Pistachio Ice Cream Than Feel Real Pain

I recently came across a sign that read: I’d rather have champagne than real pain. I must have subconsciously channeled its effervescent mentality because I went straight for plucky, unapologetic items with intention; gave myself permission to take a break from my problems; and put the less-than-fun things in my life on hold this week. Full speed, right into the thick of it.

I wore red high heels. Drank champagne cocktails. Roasted chicken in bacon fat. Finally ordered that deer antler bookshelf I'd been eyeing. That sort of thing. To sum up: I went overboard.

Naturally, this included ice cream. Pistachio. Yes, a rich, dense, gutsy green pistachio flavor was definitely in order. So I added a nearly committable amount of pistachios and did not look back. (Those that don't wholeheartedly like pistachio need not apply here.)

As a result, it's entirely possible that this frozen treat might be suffering from an identity crisis, as it can't decide whether it's gelato or ice cream. It started out innocently enough as a light gelato base, but the pistachios may have pushed its density into ice cream territory.

Don't spend too much time thinking about this. The whole point is to have a good time. This is precisely what ice cream is for. When people scream for it, they don't do it out of confusion. (Self medication, perhaps.) Mostly, they know exactly what they are getting themselves into.

So the gelato "that once was" is now in my freezer. A wonderful addition to the warmer weather we’ve been having. And a fabulous sidekick for champagne when fighting "reality." Which got me thinking. Not only would I rather have champagne than real pain, I'd rather eat ice cream than face my problems. I realize I can't keep this up forever. But for right now, pass the pistachio please.

Pistachio Pistachio Ice Cream

1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 cup half and half
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups shelled pistachios
~2/3 cup honey, corn syrup, or sweetener of your choosing
Pinch of salt
Juice one lemon
Splash of almond extract
Splash of cointreau

Combine 1/4 cup milk with cornstarch until smooth. Heat remaining milk and half and half in a saucepan with sugar. When milk is almost boiling, add cornstarch mixture and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until mixture becomes thick; remove and let chill in the refrigerator, ideally overnight.

While mixture is chilling, prepare pistachio paste by combining remaining ingredients (except cointreau) in a food processor. Taste and add additional sugar as needed. You may also need to thin the paste out slightly with a little water. Refrigerate until ready to make ice cream.

Whisk pistachio paste into chilled milk mixture and freeze in an ice cream maker (should take about 25 minutes). The last 5 minutes, add cointreau.

Makes about 3 cups

-Honestly, you could probably cut the pistachio amount in half (and reduce the sugar) and still feel quite pleased with yourself. But this week called for double the pistachio (and double the fun).


  1. It is a beautiful ice cream, and being a pistachio fan, I'd probably eat the whole container in one sitting. On the other hand, I'm very sorry for whatever it is that's causing the need for this and the other stuff. I hope it resolves itself soon for you.

  2. I love pistachios but I've never had pistachio ice cream before! This looks so good.

  3. What a wonderful post! I totally agree, some days you just have to throw aside all the "shoulds" and go for it. I love pistachio ice cream, so really looking forward to trying this!

  4. Yes, most definitely! I've realized my life has recently taken on a life of its own and now I'm struggling to get the balance back. In the meantime, a little ice cream never hurt anyone. ;) Cheers to a hopeful, ice-cream filled weekend!

    (I've also found the ice cream is lovely with little bits of dark chocolate.)

  5. I was JUST going to say that some dark chocolate in this would make it irresistible. And props to you for even finding a deer antler bookshelf. That thing is amazing.

  6. Call it whatever you want-it looks delicious!!!!

  7. Pistacho gelato? Pistachio ice cream? This is one wonderful identity crisis. I've got to say that I love your fearless attitude...and one that I've been needing lately!

  8. I'd definitely take pistachio ice-cream over champagne. (Though I wouldn't turn down the option of both.) Mmm!

  9. fantastic recipe! Most recipe I have seen requires pistachio paste. I love that you taught us how to make it from scratch. Thanks!

  10. yum. I was having a week like that myself, but instead ate large amounts of whipped strawberry mousse. If only I had an ice cream maker....

  11. I love the color of this dessert. It makes me want to whip up a batch just to see if I would like it more in a clear glass dish, or atop a sand-colored cone. Oh come on, who am I kidding? I want to whip up a batch so I can scarf it all down.

  12. Ha. Yes, I must admit the green color is quite appealing for me too. (Or at least that's the excuse I've been using to eat it.) I've been thinking this would be fantastic atop with some sort of fig pastry. And strawberry mousse?! Yes, please!

    Anh: when I was researching pistachio paste I found that it was typically just pistachios and some sort of sugar and occasionally a little almond. (Who knew?!)

    I think next time I'll use less pistachio and see if I can go more towards a gelato consistency ...

  13. If you keep eating that pistachio ice-cream, you will never feel pain :)

  14. it's okay to go hog-wild every now and again. truly.
    meanwhile, what a tasty batch of ice creamato (geleam?). pistachios are underused and underappreciated and that's a shame.

  15. LOL I like that antler bookrack. Very unique. Also love pistachios in anything sweet. This ice cream sounds great!

  16. Love the color of this ice cream! I've ashamed to say I've only had pistachio ice cream once, and it was just a little taste of it too! But, I did like it, so this sounds very good!

  17. The ice cream just looks lovely.

  18. What is the name for pistachio ice cream that people commonly use? I've made some recently and my daughter thought it had a special name, I seem to recall hearing it too...but neither of us remember!

  19. Gosh, I'm ashamed to say I don't know. (And apparently neither did google!) But I'll be sure to let you know if I find out!