Recipe: Pistachio Ice Cream Sandwiches

by gigi on April 13, 2009

One of my oft-used wedding presents is an ice cream maker from Victoria. She knew how crazy I was about frozen desserts in general and figured I would make good use of an ice cream maker. She was right and ever since I unpacked my ice cream maker, I’ve been busily trying out new flavours of ice cream and gelato to the chagrin of my waistline. :)

I was at Tricia’s house earlier in the week and we made some yummy chocolate brownie cookies from Claudia Fleming’s book, The Last Course. Tricia and I have semi-regular cookie/dessert baking nights and were inspired by a cookie recipe posted on Chubby Hubby. The cookies sounded quite easy to make so we decided to give it a try. Although our cookies did not puff up as nicely as Chubby Hubby’s, they tasted very chocolaty and its brownie-like crust gave way to a soft and moist cookie inside.

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I packed up half the batch of cookies to take home with me and once I got home, I decided to follow through with make use of some pistachio ice cream I had made a few days earlier. I had bought some raw pistachios to make a pistachio ice cream recipe I had found on Chocolate & Zucchini. Instead of the regular method of making a custard first, this recipe used corn starch and followed the Philadelphia ice cream method. I prefer the more traditional method of making a custard…or perhaps I just need more practice making Philadelphia-style ice cream. :) Next time around, I will try roasting the pistachios first to bring out more of a toasty, nutty flavour.

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Now that I had all my materials on hand, I was ready to assemble my ice cream sandwich. The cookies were about two inches in diameter and made for a nice, two-bite ice cream sandwich. Even though I wish there was a more prominent pistachio flavour, the combination of the nuts and the chocolate cookies worked out very well and it didn’t take me long to gobble them down. :)

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Chocolate Brownie Cookies
Makes 5 dozen cookies, from Claudia Fleming’s The Last Course

Ingredients
35g all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
135g sugar
½ tbsp brewed espresso
1 tsp vanilla extract
30g unsalted butter
140g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
55g unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup mini dark chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, briefly whip the eggs to break them up. Add the sugar, espresso, and vanilla and beat on high for 15 minutes, until thick. While the eggs are whipping, place the butter in the top layer of a double boiler, or in a metal bowl suspended over a pot of simmering water, and scatter the chocolate on top. Heat until the butter and chocolate melt. Remove from over the water and stir the chocolate and butter until smooth. Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture until partially combined (there should still be some streaks). Add the flour mixture to the batter and carefully fold it in. If the batter is very runny, let it rest until it thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Drop the batter by heaping teaspoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheets and bake until puffed and cracked, 8 to 9 minutes. Cool on a wire rack before removing from the sheets.

Pistachio Gelato
Adapted from Chocolate & Zucchini

Ingredients
150 grams (1 1/4 cup) raw (= untoasted, unsalted) shelled pistachios
65 grams (1/3 cup) sugar
1/2 liter (2 cups) whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
30 grams (1 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons) honey

Method
In the bowl of a food processor (or blender, or mini-chopper), combine the pistachios and sugar, and process in short pulses until the mixture is reduced to a fine powder. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine 60 ml (1/4 cup) of the milk with the cornstarch, and stir with a spoon to dissolve. Set aside.

Combine the rest of the milk (440 ml or 1 3/4 cups) with the pistachio mixture in a medium saucepan. Set over medium heat and bring just to a simmer, stirring regularly with a wooden spoon. Add the cornstarch mixture and cook for 3 more minutes, stirring continuously as the mixture thickens. The custard is ready when it coats the wooden spoon, and you can trace a neat path on the back of said spoon with your finger.

Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes. (At this point, you can opt to strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve if you’d prefer a smooth texture; I myself like the tiny chunks of pistachio.)

Let cool to room temperature on the counter, whisking from time to time to prevent the formation of a skin, then cover and refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled.

Whisk the chilled mixture, and churn in your ice cream maker for about 35 minutes or until you reach your desired consistency.

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