I have no problem thinking about ice cream during the winter months, but when summer rolls around, at least in Oklahoma, it can be so hot that it's difficult to be inspired to actually make anything. It's August, the worst month, and I'm just now making my first batch of the year!
August in Oklahoma is miserable. It's hot, humid, and difficult to escape the heat - even within air conditioning. In our little 400 square foot apartment, we have one mini split, two window units, and three fans and somehow I'm always a little sweaty.
On our last trip to the library, I came across Persiana by Sabrina Ghayour. It's a cookbook for Middle Eastern dishes and within the book, lies this recipe for Pistachio, Honey, & Orange Blossom Ice Cream.
Now, before we get started, there are few things I need to make mention of:
First, do not be intimidated by the orange blossom water in this recipe. Before a few weeks ago, I would roll my eyes at recipes calling for ingredients like orange blossom or rose waters. I had no idea where to even buy those ingredients, thinking they were probably expensive, and being somewhat concerned that maybe I would need to learn to make ingredients that already seem a little fussy. Anyway, one day I was wandering through the Asian supermarket and stumbled across the ingredients. Guess what - they're not too expensive and you don't need to learn how to make your own (unless you just really want to, I guess) - you just need to know where to look. They're not ingredients that are exclusively for posh, boho foodies - they're just Mediterranean and aren't always carried in the typical mid-western American supermarket.
Second, what I'm about to say will either serve as an incentive or a warning to you, but the taste of this ice cream bares a striking resemblance to fruit loops. I know, weird but kind of nice, and surprisingly refreshing.
Pistachio, Honey, & Orange Blossom Ice Cream
1/2 lb (8 oz.) shelled pistachios, plus extra to garnish
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 1/2 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup orange blossom water
1 2/3 cups unsweetened evaporated milk
zest of 2 oranges
Place about three quarters of the shelled pisatchios and all of the powdered sugar in a food processor and pulse until finely ground. Then, for your own good, take a little taste. it's delicious.
In a saucepan, pour the milk, cream, honey, orange blossom water, and pistachio mixture. Bring to a low boil and allow to reduce by about one quarter, about 20-25 minutes. Stir frequently.
Important: You need to keep an eye on the mixture while it's boiling, it can very easily boil over if not closely monitored. I learned this the hard way!
Once the mixture has reduce by about one quarter, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Once the mixture has cooled, stir in the evaporated milk and orange zest. Chop the remaining pistachios coarsely. Add to the mixture. Mix well.
Either leave the mixture in the saucepan, or transfer to a bowl, and place in the refrigerator. Allow to chill for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Once chilled, transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and churn according to manufacturer's instructions. It took my ice cream maker about 45 minutes. Because the cylinder of my ice cream maker is kind of awkward to store in the freezer, once the ice cream is ready I like to transfer it to a loaf pan for storage. In my opinion, it makes for a nicer presentation that way too.
If you don't have an ice cream maker, you can freeze the mixture in a large shallow container. When I freeze by this method, I like to use a roasting pan. Freeze the mixture for 2 hours, removing from the freezer and stirring every 15 minutes to break down ice crystals.
Serve, topped with remaining pistachios. You can halve, sliver, coarsely chop, or even leave whole if you want.