Category Archives: dairy free ice cream

Pistachio and Almond Milk Ice Cream Recipe

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Pistachio and Almond Milk Ice Cream

It’s not often that one gets to create something unique in the kitchen. Most of our recipes are based on those created by others, with modifications and adjustments to ingredients and quantities. An ice cream or gelato recipe easily falls into this category whereby most approaches are derived from basic vanilla, but I think my almond milk ice cream (more correctly almond milk gelato) is bordering on the invention side. Well, perhaps. The great thing about using almond milk for gelato or ice cream is that almond milk is healthy, nutritionally dense, vegan and lowers your cholesterol. The trick, however, that while normal cow’s milk is totally understood when it comes to the frozen dessert, there are no easily available resources out there that explain how almond milk reacts in ice cream making.

Almonds and Almond Milk

As you may know, successful ice cream and gelato making is all about achieving a balance between sugar and fat, both of which play a part in ensuring the ice cream does not freeze to a solid block full of huge ice crystals and that it has a good, creamy mouth feel. Egg yolks add to the fat content and are the key distinguishing factor between an ice cream (contains egg yolks) and gelato (contains no egg yolks). Additives such as sahlep, cornstarch, xanthan gum or guar gum increase the ratio of solids to liquids in an ice cream, which lowers its freezing point without adding too much in terms of fat derived calories. Alcohol and egg whites are also useful, but result in a “slushy” ice cream if not carefully balanced. And so, my key target was to naturally raise the content of “good” fats in the ice cream by extracting concentrated, rich almond milk, and by further enriching it with the fats from the pistachio nuts. Then the sugars need to play their normal part. I used 80 grams of sugar and 80ml Agave nectar. I like Agave because it is low GI and it is already in a liquid state, which assists in lowering the freezing point. Thickening the mixture with cornstarch is standard gelato business and the result is a smooth, nutty and 80% healthy almond milk and pistachio gelato. Enjoy it before it gets too cold.

Pistachio and Almond Milk Ice Cream Recipe


  • 2 cups rehydrated almonds (soaked in water overnight)
  • 1 cup rehydrated pistachios (soaked in water overnight)
  • 80 g white sugar
  • 80 ml Agave nectar (or an extra 80 g sugar)
  • 4 cups water
  • 20 g cornstarch


  • Put nuts and water in a blender and wizz away
  • When well processed, strain in a cheese cloth, extracting every bit of liquid possible
  • Create a slurry by whisking the cornstarch with half a cup of the extracted milk
  • Heat the rest of the milk with the sugar and Agave and bring to a simmer
  • Add the cornstarch slurry and mix well. It will thicken very quickly, but you must keep stirring for around 2 minutes over the low heat
  • Put in a container, wait for the mixture to cool down and then refrigerate overnight. It will have a wobbly pudding like consistency
  • Churn according to your ice cream maker’s instructions and store in the freezer
  • If it is too thick, and your machine is not up to the task, give it a helping hand by stirring the ice cream in the machine with a wooden spooon. My machine has a crappy engine, and always needs a hand

Soy and Honey Pistachio Ice Cream – Dairy, Gluten and Sugar Free

By | dairy free ice cream, gluten free ice cream, pistachio ice cream, soy and honey ice cream, soy ice cream, sugar free ice cream | 4 Comments

I’m a pistachio nut. Let me rephrase that. I love pistachios. Growing up in a Lebanese home, our pantry had a section especially dedicated to Kloobat, a word that roughly came to mean “nut garnishes”: almonds, dessicated coconuts, pine nuts, walnuts and off course pistachios.

Mom would use them on dishes both savory and sweet. Rice dishes like Chicken with Rice (tastes much better than it sounds) and Stuffed Lamb would never be complete without a mixture of golden pan fried pine nuts and halved almonds and bright green pistachios. As for desserts, Mighli (a spicy rice dessert made to celebrate a new birth and Christmas), Mhallbiyyeh (a creamy and light milk based pudding) and even drinks like Jallab had their fair share of toppings. These nuts add a depth of flavour and texture to whatever they come across, lifting the dishes to new heights.

And so recently, while I was reading through David Lebovitz’s blog, I came across his recipe for pistachio ice cream. His description of that Bronte Pistachio Paste was so enticing, I knew I had to make that ice cream. However, I had a couple of problems. I looked everywhere in Australia for Bronte Pistachio Paste but I couldn’t find it. The other problem was the fact that I was on a gluten/dairy/sugar free diet under the strict orders of my naturopath. That meant that I had to substitute milk for soy milk and sugar for honey. I was up for the challenge, but first, I had to find my pistachio paste.

Weeks later, on my way back from work, I decided to venture on the realm of the unknown. I passed by Abu Hachem’s Lebanese grocery in Dulwich Hill and bought half a kilo of Pistachio kernels for $10. I got home, put 250 grams of kernels in the food processor and started it up. A minute later, I had something that resembled almond meal. Good, but not good enough. I wanted Marzipan texture. So I got 2 tablespoons of almond butter and whizzed that in. The texture starting transforming to something more like what I wanted, but it was not quite there. So I got some neutral oil (Canola) and in a pesto like fashion, I added a thin string to the mix while processing until I ended up with a perfect Marzipan like block of pistachio paste.

So to make the ice cream, you will need the following (based on David’s recipe)
500 ml soy milk (I use Bonsoi which is great)
2 Tablespoons of cornstarch
200 grams of pistachio paste
A squeeze of lemon juice
Honey (to taste)
1 Tea Spoon Rum or Vodka

Make a slurry from the cornstarch and half a cup of soy milk. Heat up the remaining soy milk, add and stir in the honey. Keep adding honey until desired sweetness is reached. Constantly stir and when the soy milk starts boiling add the cornstarch and soy milk slurry. Boil on a low heat for 2 minutes then take off the heat. In a blender or a food processor, liquidise the soy milk with the pistachio nut paste and a squeeze of lemon juice until well blended. Without waiting for it to cool down, churn in an ice cream maker. Five minutes before you feel it’s ready, add the alcohol. This will help keep the ice cream soft when frozen. Freeze overnight for a well set ice cream or consume immediately if you like it soft.

I tell you what. This ice cream is the bomb. You will not believe that something that tastes so naughty is actually OK on the healthy scale. On the down side, I think I should have peeled the pistachios because the skins make for a gritty texture, which is not too unpleasant – a smoother texture would be nicer, but I’m not sure I want to spend 3 hours peeling pistachios. Maybe sieving the liquid before churning might work.

David, thanks for the inspiration.