I sometimes wonder how gardening writers find the time to write cookery books. When I have spent the day weeding and potting on, the last thing I consider is what to have for supper. It’s usually a bowl of pasta and then off to bed.
Over Easter, we’ve got friends coming over so in between putting in new olive trees and fixing the car battery, I’ve had to come up with meals that are easy to put together. So this evening it’s going to be tagliatelle with the new season asparagus, followed by ‘all in one’ Greek salad and then pistachio ice cream. I used the hazelnut ice cream recipe in the Silver Spoon cook book as my inspiration.
150g unsalted, shelled pistachios
500ml whole milk
250ml single cream
25g vanilla sugar (or 25g sugar plus ½ teaspoon vanilla essence)
6 free range egg yolks
150g castor sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C, place the pistachios on a baking tray and bake them for about 5 minutes until they are lightly toasted and smelling nutty. Keep a close eye on them, as they burn easily. Let the kernels cool and then blitz them in a food processor to the consistency of granulated sugar.
Meanwhile add the milk, cream and vanilla sugar to a non stick saucepan and heat until hot but not boiling. Make sure the sugar has dissolved. Add the ground pistachios and stir well.
Cream the egg yolks and castor sugar in your food processor, scrap into another non stick saucepan, and then stir in the hot pistachio milk. Put the pan containing the custard over a gentle heat and let the mixture thicken slightly. Stir constantly. Too high a heat and you’ll end up with pistachio scrambled eggs.
Decant the custard into a bowl, cover and let it cool to room temperature before placing it in the fridge for a couple of hours to chill – this will mean less churning time. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, put the custard into the freezer, remembering to stir the ice cream a couple of times while it solidifies.
Very fabulously wonderful despite the khaki tinge; I suspect commercial ices have a touch of green colorant to give a subtle avocado colour.