Recipe: pistachio gelato

In the summer last year, Tristan and I went to London with our friends Jem and Kate to see a gig at the Garage in Camden. Wandering around during the day, we had what I can only describe as a near-biblical experience with rich and creamy pistachio gelato from a place near Covent Garden called Gelatorino. Ever since then I’ve been on a mission to find something local to me that is blissfuly similar, but haven’t managed, searching high and low on the supermarket shelves. Sadly, it seems that the gelato you can buy in the shops is either fluorescent green because of additives or tastes like marzipan (as almonds are a lot cheaper than pistachios, so companies use almonds instead to save money on ingredients). Since then we’ve even been disappointed with ordering it in italian restaurants, which is why I thought I better have a crack at making some of my own.

Looking online, I quickly found my way to David Lebovitz’s awesome blog, based in Paris. In many ways, I believe the mark of finding a holy grail recipe, is one where you’re not really tempted to start tinkering with it. I say that as the sort of person who tinkers with everything I make! I’m happy to say that I’ve only ever so slightly tweaked this recipe, so I’m more than happy to attribute all of it’s brilliance back to David.

The original recipe calls for ‘bronte pistachio paste’, which I did look into but couldn’t find anywhere. I considered making my own, but finally decided, after yet more online research, that my nut grinding tools were not really up to the task of blitzing pistachios down into a spreadable paste, so I decided to buy a ready ground container from a fantastic catering website called Sous Chef. Their pistachio paste is 100% pistacho nuts, which is essential to good gelato. It’s a bit pricey, but I wouldn’t even bother with anything less than 100%. Go big or go home.

Pistachio Gelato (adapted from David Lebovitz)

  • 500 ml whole milk
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 200 grams pistachio paste
  • a few drops of lemon or orange juice

Mix a few tablespoons of the milk with the cornflour, and whisk until you have a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining milk on the stovetop, and then slowly stir in the sugar until it’s all combined.

When the milk and sugar is simmering, add the cornflour paste and continue to cook over a gentle heat until the mixture starts to look unctuous and thick.

Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the contents to an airtight container. Allow to cool until room temperature, and then chill the mixture in the fridge (ideally overnight).

When cold, stir in the pistachio paste and a few drops of lemon/orange juice and whisk until smooth and thick.

Churn in an ice cream machine (or see my previous ice cream blog post if you don’t own a machine) for about 5-7 minutes, until the gelato has almost set, and is thick and glossy. Scrape the gelato back into the airtight container and place in the freezer to firm up before eating.

  1. Thanks for the recipe! I also bought 100% pistachio paste and noticed that David’s one is only 40%. Did you tweak the recipe in any other way to make for this?


    1. Hello! I tweaked David’s recipe ever so slightly anyway, but I didn’t change it specifically for the 100% pistachio paste. I liked that it was less sweet than gelato you usually get in the supermarket. Hope you enjoy!


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