pistachio honey ice cream with dark chocolate


this is the fancy-pants dessert i made to go with the lamb tagine from the other week.

the cake was pretty good.  it was an olive oil cake.


i spent at least fifteen minutes in the olive oil section at the whole foods, reading the back of olive oil bottles. trying to decide how crazy i really am.  am i $20 for a 10 ounce bottle crazy?  turns out, i'm $15 for a 16.9 ounce bottle crazy.  which is still pretty crazy. but the bottle promised "fresh herbal aroma and delicate fruity flavor."

i needed herbal. i needed fruity. it needed to go with my candied cara cara orange slices.


its a lot of cake for an ice cream post, of this i am aware. the cake just ended up being so much prettier than it was yummy.

the ice cream, though? out of this world.


salted, roasted pistachios. not actually moroccan. persian. close enough?

does it count if i know persia is iran? only a slight cultural competence fail.

and does it really matter where they came from when they are so tasty when roasted and slightly salted, so fantastically lime green?

i ended up having to buy unshelled pistachios because that was what target stocks and i'd hit my shopping limit for the day, but maybe we can just say it was because unshelled nuts are supposed to be fresher. it took awhile to get them out of their pacman shells, standing at the kitchen counter, but it had its rewards. by the end, my fingers were wrinkled from the salt, like after a day a the beach, only mostly because i couldn't stop a downward spiral of nut-cracking, finger-licking, and hand-washing. the container yielded the half cup needed for the ice cream and garnish, but just barely. snacking may have also occurred.

let me now impress you with my mad photography skills.


for this ice cream, the pistachios get pulverized. they add just a hint of texture to the ice cream. i subbed the sugar and corn syrup out of the ice cream for an orange blossom honey (see! fancy pants!) and not just because i forgot to buy corn syrup.

it worked out. the flavors were both nicely earthy. the honey added a deep sweetness. the pistachios were just a bit salty. kind of like a peanut butter honey sandwich.


another great ice cream tip from jeni's cookbook was employed – melting chocolate to add as a mix-in. you pour the chocolate into the ice cream maker near the end, when the ice cream is pretty well set up, but slowly, ever so slowly. it freezes on contact into tiny little shards – what jeni calls freckles – of chocolate that melt on your tongue.

if you are less patient, and ready to be done getting melted chocolate all over your ice cream making station (aka the bathroom counter because the door can be closed and that thing is LOUD), pour the chocolate fast and it will clump into larger bits that are fun too. and still less likely to break a tooth than chopped, frozen chocolate.

more amazing photography. isn't that ice cream just . . . totally devoid of focus? and the cake, so sparkling clear?


i really did think i was going to share the cake recipe. it was good – honest! light, with an interesting crumb from semolina flour. but it's drenched in orange cardamom syrup. turns out, i much prefer orange cardamom syrup in prosecco, not cake.

plus, then i tried the ice cream. wow. you should make this.

Pistachio Honey Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate

Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home

  • 1/2 cup shelled, roasted lightly salted pistachios
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 1/2 oz (or 3 tbsp) softened cream cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 – 3 oz dark chocolate, chopped

If your pistachios aren't roasted, toast them in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes until fragrant and brown.  Let them cool for just a minute, then throw them in the food processor and pulse until they form a paste.

Mix 2 tbsp of milk with cornstarch in a small bowl.  Whisk cream cheese, pistachio paste, and salt in a medium bowl.  Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

Bring the remaining milk, cream, sugar and honey to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and boil for 4 minutes.  Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.  Bring back to a boil and stir until the mixture slightly thickens.

Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into cream cheese mixture until smooth. Pour into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge in ice bath until chilled, about half an hour.

Pour ice cream base into ice cream maker and start churning.

Melt dark chocolate in the microwave (carefully, in small time segments, stirring between) or in a metal bowl set over a pot of simmering water (poor woman's double boiler).

When the ice cream looks nearly done – maybe 20 minutes in, slowly, slowly pour chocolate into the mixture. It should freeze as it hits the ice cream.

When ice cream is done, try not to eat it all. Pack into a storage container and freeze until firm. 

goat cheese ice cream with drunken figs


fact: last weekend, the somm and i were eating grapes by the side of the road, looking out over vineyards and scrubby forest.  it smelled like the california of my childhood, like dust and sunshine and chaparral.  it was warm.  and it felt possible to be anyone or do anything we could imagine.

today: it's raining.  it's wednesday.  it's the last week of farmer's market for us deprived east coasters.

luckily, there isn't much that some homemade ice cream can't fix.

we're back to the ice cream book.  we're proving that ice cream is TOTALLY a fall food. 


especially when it comes marbled up with your momma's drunken fig jam. 

drunken figs . . . bright with citrus and just a hint of cognac to round out and deepen the flavor. 

but, i didn't want to use it all. 

did you know i'm a hoarder?  seriously.  especially in the refrigerator region of the house.  so many tiny tupperware containers with the last traces of something delish. 

the original recipe suggested using roasted red cherries.

cherries, sadly, are not a fall fruit.

luckily, my cupboards are another food hoarder's paradise, full of random jars of condiments i purchased, perhaps after a glass, perhaps two, of wine, perhaps in a certain little town in a certain state near and dear to my heart.  jars that, upon sober reflection, i have no idea what to do with.

thus i found: a jar of apricot-fig chutney.  it was spicy . . . like pumpkin pie spicy.  warm cinnamon and nutmeg and just a hint of heat from white pepper.

victory.  i split my batch in two . . . double the fun.


goat cheese ice cream might sound weird, but trust me, it works.  it's sweet and creamy, but has a great hit of that goat cheese tang.  kind of like cheesecake.  but lighter.  and colder.

just the thing to brighten up a gray fall day.

Jeni's Goat Cheese Ice Cream

Find the recipe here. Use whatever fruit spread catches your fall heart's fancy. 

kettlecorn ice cream

popcorn ice cream

um, why did i wait until the end of summer to get the ice cream cookbook du jour?  (du summer?  du l'été?  sorry aunt k.) 

let me just say, better late than never.  i got my mom on the bandwagon too, and she's the real homemade ice cream artisan in the family. 

everyone in foodie blog land loves this cookbook.  jeni's flavor combinations are really amazing: sweet corn & black raspberry; basil & honeyed pine nuts; cucumber, honeydew & cayenne.  i seriously considered just working my way through the damn thing: one ice cream a week!  for a year!  then i remembered my thighs.  hi friends.  we don't really need that much for reals ice cream around, right?

but the best thing about the cookbook is the basic ice cream recipe.  the recipe is, SERIOUSLY, a revelation.  especially for dorks like me who tend to produce scrambled eggs instead of ice cream custard no matter how much tempering and whisking occurs.  

pre-jeni, the land of homemade ice cream was a choice of philadelphia-style cream and sugar ice cream or the richer french egg-based custards.  jeni has use science, SCIENCE! to move us beyond this.  the secret ingredients are cream cheese, corn starch, and corn syrup.

sounds weird, i know.

but, the result?  the ice cream really is creamer and smoother than most ice creams i've made, and lasted longer in the freeze. 


if you buy jeni's cookbook . . . which you should if you ever plan to make homemade ice cream . . . she has a long, interesting explanation of why her recipe version works.  the short version is that it balanced the water, fat, protein and air to make ice cream taste like the best thing you've ever put in your mouth.  not gritty.  not cloying.  just right.

kettlecorn isn't actually a flavor from jeni's ice cream book.  it was inspired by a recipe for popcorn ice cream that i've been dreaming about for a month. 

we're big popcorn fans around my house.  you can usually tell whether the somm is home or not by the level of popcorn detritus on the floor. 

sweeping: one of my favorite household tasks.  if only i'd do it with any regularity. 

isn't kettlecorn the best type of popcorn?  sweet and salty and buttery.  this ice cream does all of those things.


did you know you can pop popcorn in a brown lunch bag?  for reals.  turns out, there is nothing magical about the orville redenbacher bag, no matter what criss angel says.

pop some up, melt it into your warm ice cream base to infuse it with popcorn goodness.  proceed with your ice cream recipe, but amp up the salt. 


sprinkle some more sea salt on top (maybe that fancy flowerpetal sea salt you picked up in spain?  yes?  no, you don't keep that on hand?) and you'll have the sweet-salty goodness of kettlecorn, but with the creamy-cold goodness of ice cream.


mmm.  stay tuned because the ice cream flavor that is next up is goat cheese and drunken figs courtesy of my momma.

Kettlecorn Ice Cream

Using Jeni's recipe & Inspired by Dash & Bella's Popcorn Ice Cream

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1 1/4 heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 4 cups air popped popcorn (about 1/4 cup unpopped) without salt or oil

WARNING: you need approximately 15 large bowls and various other accoutrement.  This recipe relies on mise-en-place.  I hope you have a dishwasher.  Trust me, it's worth it.  Also, you need an ice cream maker.  They aren't that expensive.  I have a Cuisinart that's about 4 years old and it's fantastic. 

To pop your popcorn, put 1/4 cup popcorn kernels in a brown paper bag, fold over the top several times and microwave for a few minutes, listening for the popping to stop.  Put the popcorn into a large bowl.

Fill a large bowl with ice water.

In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch.

In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.

In a saucepan, bring the remaining milk with the heavy cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil and cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Don't let it scald! 

Take the warm mixture off the heat, and add  it to the popcorn gradually.  Stir until the popcorn mostly melts.  I didn't get it to totally melt.  Strain the mixture back into the pan, pressing on the popcorn solids to get all the liquid out.

Gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened, about 1 minute.

Turn off the heat, and slowly whisk the cream cheese mixture into the milk until it's smooth.  Pour your ice cream base into a big plastic ziploc bag and seal.  Set the bag into the ice water and chill for about an hour, adding ice if you need to to get it nice and cold. 

Follow your ice cream maker's instructions to freeze, then cure your ice cream in the freezer until firm.