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Monthly Archive for March, 2013

Pistachio Gelato & Pistachio Brittle

This post is in memory of my dad who loved pistachio gelato. I remember being in Venice w/ him at a gelateria, and even w/ so many flavors to choose from, he of course picked pistachio! So here you go papa. With love, your son.

This recipe is based on one from Martha Stewart w/ a few variations. The main variations are: 1) I used six egg yolks, compared to Martha’s five, to give my gelato additional richness; and 2) My version leaves in the ground pistachios for a boost of flavor and a nice textural element. I’m guessing that Martha strained out the pistachios to get a smoother, more elegant finished product, much like many French sauce recipes require removing bits of shallots or mushrooms prior to serving for that very reason.

I made the pistachio brittle to use as a garnish because I think it’s fun to eat and delicious too! The brittle reminded me of a funny and true story: My childhood dentist would sometimes have a bowl of peanut brittle sitting on the table in her waiting room. I don’t know if she was just being nice to her sugar loving clients, or guaranteeing return business to fill all the cavities this created!

Pistachio Gelato (recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)


1/2 pound pistachios (unsalted and shelled)

1 quart half & half

6 egg yolks

2/3 cup sugar


1) Coarsely chop pistachios in food processor.

2) Place pistachios in a heavy pot w/ the half & half  and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover w/ lid and let mixture steep for 2 hours.

3) Strain pistachios from mixture using a fine mesh sieve, pressing down firmly on solids. Reserve pistachios.

4) Return half & half to pot and scald, then remove from heat.

5) In a metal bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until mixture becomes smooth and pale yellow.

6) Very slowly whisk half & half into egg/sugar mixture so as not to curdle the mixture.

7) Place bowl w/ mixture over a pot of simmering water, stirring continuously w/ a heat resistant spatula until mixture coats the back of a metal spoon (do not let mixture exceed 170 degrees F to prevent curdling), then quickly place bowl in an ice bath to stop the cooking process and promote rapid cooling.

8) Stir in reserved pistachios and chill in fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.

9) Churn mixture in ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

10) Pour gelato into a 2 quart plastic container then place a piece of parchment paper cut to size on the surface of gelato (this will reduce air exposure and prevent ice crystals from forming on the surface of the gelato), seal container and freeze until firm.

Yield: Approx. 1 1/2 quarts


Pistachio Brittle


1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup pistachios (shelled and unsalted)

3 1/2 tablespoons water


1) Put sugar and water in a heavy bottomed pot and boil until light amber in color (333 – 335 degrees F on a candy thermometer), brushing inside of pot w/ water occasionally to prevent crystals from forming; stir in pistachios.

2) Quickly pour onto a baking sheet lined w/ parchment paper and let cool.

3) Break brittle into large pieces and store in an airtight plastic container, placing a piece of parchment paper between each layer.


Happy cooking…