Pistachio and Chocolate duet

Howdy folks!

This weekend, we realized that we had never seen Celine and Pierre’s ice cream machine, which was sent a few months ago by Walt. We therefore decided to unite what are probably the only two existing machines in Clermont Ferrand, and to prepare a nice double dessert.

Pierre, driven by enthusiasm and ambition, had chosen nothing less than pistachio, which is considered by some of us as the Holy Grail of ice-cream… I decided to let him undergo this ordeal by himself, and to prepare something that would go well with his attempt. Chocolate seemed the best option…

I did not see Pierre’s preparation, but he described it to me and took a few pictures. He was not aware of the grinding problem, the main issue in this recipe : it seems to me (but correct me if I’m wrong) that Peter and David had tried to soak, peel and blend the pistachio, but that this gave a slightly powderish texture. Pierre, driven by his instinct, bought unroasted pistachios, peeled and ground them with a pestle and a mortar. To get a paste, he added powdered sugar, about the equivalent (in size, not in weight) of the pistachios. The pictures show it produced a nice, wet paste which Pierre chose not to sieve.

The rest of the ingredients is not very clear : about 10cl of cream, a handful of sugar, some milk, and a few seeds of cardamom… This gave about 60/70 cl of liquid, which was not a lot, but I suppose the peeling and grinding were so tedious that Pierre had decided to cut it short… We were afraid the machine wouldn’t work with so little a quantity, but it turned out to be ok…

For my part, I followed the chocolate gelato recipe (to be found on this site), which always proved to be reliable…

It was funny cranking the two machines at the same time. One single person could do it, with a lot of synchronization… The chocolate-filled machine went stiff much quicker than the other one but when we opened the canisters, the pistachio was in fact much firmer than the chocolate. The former just had a little more room in the container…

Results : the chocolate was as expected : rich and smooth. The pistachio had many qualities : the flavour was there, definitely, with a nice hint of cardamome. The texture was a little rough though : bits of nuts gave a little grittiness (which was not necessarily unpleasant…), and it lacked a certain smoothness that more cream could have brought. I think the mortar/pesle technique is an interesting idea and deserves to be investigated. Many thanks to Pierre and his family for showing us a different way on the nut ice cream, and for this pleasant desert!


Now based in Paris, Thibault and Celine are consistently innovating with new flavours, particularly sorbets. They have a classic half-gallon White Mountain freezer that brings delight throughout France.

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1 Response

  1. Walt says:

    Great to see these two White Mountain freezers at work together. I think the pistachio sounds great, I like some texture in my ice cream. Thanks for sharing the experience.

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