Tag Archives: Dessert

Pistachio Ice Cream


As we prepare for a hot summer, we are stockpiling our freezer with different flavors of home made ice cream. We received a great ice cream cookbook, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, as a wedding present from some friends who took us to a Jeni’s in Chicago. Since we don’t have one in San Diego, it’s time to make our own.


First up, some toasted pistachio ice cream. So rich and nutty, a little bit salty, a little bit tangy from the cream cheese. Most of Jeni’s recipes have a cream cheese base instead of an egg custard base. I can’t get enough.


As with all homemade ice creams, make sure that your ice cream maker is frozen well in advance of when you want to make ice cream, at least 24 hours. Also, I like to plan to make my base the day before I churn it, to give the cream plenty of time to chill in the fridge.


This ice cream is delicious and very flavorful on its own, but is spectacular with additional toasted pistachios and shaved dark chocolate.


Toasted Pistachio Ice Cream

  • Servings: 4 as a side
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Recipe from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home

1/2 cup shelled unsalted pistachios (plus 1/4 cup if you want to add whole ones to your ice cream)
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3Tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 tsp almond extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pistachios out on a small baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until fragrant and just starting to brown. Remove from the oven and pulverize 1/2 cup of pistachios in a food processor until the pistachios become a very smooth paste. Add the cream cheese and salt and blend until smooth.
Mix about 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry and set aside.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring , until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese mixture until smooth. Chill in an ice bath for 30 minutes, or preferably overnight in the fridge.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister. Add the almond extract while churning. Follow the directions on your machine, churning until the ice cream is thick and creamy. Package, with or without additional pistachios, and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving.


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Orange Cardamom Ice Cream with Candied Orange Peels


It must be a very robust citrus season in Southern California this year. After making Cranberry Orange Cardamom Scones and Vanilla Orange Marmalade, I’m still looking for ways to use up oranges (in addition to snacking on them all the time). The candied orange peels were a fun way to top a bowl of ice cream, and a tasty snack on their own. IMG_0419Homemade ice cream isn’t too difficult, but it does require planning and patience. The ice cream base has to cool for at least four hours before churning, so I try to plan on making the base the night before I plan on  churning the ice cream. After churning, the ice cream has to freeze for an additional four hours, so it’s best to start the process two days before you want to serve your ice cream. Keeping everything super cold is the best way to get the best texture. IMG_6190

Orange Cardamom Ice Cream with Candied Orange Peels

  • Servings: 2 pints
  • Difficulty: Hard
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Recipe from “The Perfect Scoop” by David Lebovitz

1 Tbsp cardamom seeds, crushed
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 c sugar
4 oranges
6 large egg yolks

Heat the milk, 1/2 c of the cream, and sugar with the crushed cardamom seeds in a medium saucepan. Zest the oranges directly into the saucepan. Once warm, cover, remove from the heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.
Rewarm the cardamom infused mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup heavy cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Stir until cool over an ice bath. Chill the mixture thoroughly in the fridge, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

4 oranges, lemons or grapefruit
2 cups water
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp light corn syrup
pinch of salt

With a vegetable peeler, remove strips of peel 1 inch wide from the fruit, cutting lengthwise down the fruit. Remove just the colorful outer peel, leaving behind the bitter white pith. Using a very sharp knife, slice the peel lengthwise into very thin strips no wider than a toothpick.
Put the strips of peel in a small, non-reactive saucepan, add enough water to cover them by a few inches, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, strain the peel, and rinse with fresh water.
Combine the 2 cups water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in the saucepan. Fit the pan with a candy thermometer and bring to a boil. Add the blanched peel, reduce the heat, and cook at a very low boil for about 25 minutes, until the thermometer reads 230 F. Turn off the heat and let the peel cool in the syrup. Once cool, lift the peel out of the syrup with a fork, and serve atop ice cream. Or eat as a snack!
Store the peel in the syrup.

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Christmas Cookies!

This past weekend was “December Nights” in Balboa Park.  For those of you not from San Diego, it is essentially a two-night community holiday party in the park, with museums giving the gift of free admission each night.  At SDNHM, our volunteers were having a bake sale.  I jumped at the opportunity to make 3 different kinds of cookies, and NOT have them laying around my house tempting me.

Randy came over on Thursday night to help me make the cookies.  We searched through a cookbook my Nana gave me a few years ago that is entirely dedicated to cookies, and decided on Coconut Macaroons with Macadamia Nuts and Cranberry-Nut Pinwheels.  I was very excited to try the Cranberry-Nut Pinwheels because of the nice Christmasy red color that swirled through them.

Coconut Macaroons

To round it out we made some Seven Layer Bars. Graham cracker crust, chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, toasted coconut, peanuts, all topped with sweetened condensed milk. So good!

Seven Layer Bars

We made the dough for the Cranberry-Nut Pinwheels, but I waited to bake them at the Museum, hoping that the smell of fresh baked cookies would waft from the kitchen into the atrium, and persuade more people to buy cookies.  Sadly, that didn’t work.  The cookies did turn out delicious.  Next time I will make more of the cranberry filling, because they could have used a bit more.

Bake Sale Table

When I checked at the end of the night, all but one bag of my cookies had been sold!

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