This is without a doubt one of my favourite ice creams after Triantafilo (rose). In Greece, pistachios are known as ‘fistikia’ and in Cyprus as ‘hallepiana.’
Mastic gum is a resin from a tree grown on the islands of Chios and Cyprus. It’s used as a flavouring in many dishes such as bread, cakes, ice cream and stews. There are also mastic flavoured spirits and liqueurs. It can also be mixed with wax to make a chewing gum; my mother used to do this with candle wax for us!
1/2 cup unsalted, toasted pistachios, without shells
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 cups full fat milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
4 large egg yolks
1 cup double cream
1 tablespoon ground mastic gum
2 tablespoons rosewater
Few drops of green food colouring (optional)
3/4 cup unsalted, toasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Finely grind the 1/2 cup pistachios in a food processor.
Place milk and ground pistachio powder in a heavy saucepan, bring to the boil and then remove from the heat.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar, and gradually whisk in the hot milk mixture to make a custard.
Return custard to saucepan. Cook over a low heat, stirring constantly until custard thickens and leaves a path on the back of a wooden spoon when finger is drawn across – it will take about 10 minutes – do not boil.
Mix in the mastic powder and place in a large bowl. Chill until cold, about 2-3 hours.
Whisk the cream until lightly thickened and stir the whipping cream, chopped pistachios, almond extract, rosewater and green food colouring, if using, into the cold custard.
Process the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to container with a lid and freeze. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour into a metal bowl or tray and freeze for 3 hours until 3/4 set, beat with a hand stick blender, repeat this a couple of times. Transfer to container with a lid and freeze.
NB: Homemade ice cream can be stored up to 6 months. For dinner parties, prepare ice
cream balls using a scoop in advance and freeze on trays lined with greaseproof paper.