Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to punch the pignoli cookie to a higher floor–gelato. Your friend the almond-loving kat was in the mood for something new in the frozen treats category. So I took my trusty base gelato recipe and cookie-d it up à la one of my favorite baked goodies, a specialty of many fine Italian bakeries. Come with me to the Land of Nom–you’re gonna love this one!
KATTY’S PIGNOLI COOKIE GELATO
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup almonds, toasted
1.5 cups whole milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon almond extract
¼ teaspoon salt
Toast nuts in a frying pan over medium high heat, shaking/stirring regularly till they are golden and fragrant–about 5 or 6 minutes. Let the nuts cool about 5 minutes, then grind ’em up in a food processor till they form a paste. I toasted and ground them separately since it was a last-minute decision to add almonds.
Add nut paste to milk and heat on medium to medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, till small bubbles form at edge of pan. Remove from heat.
Beat together egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk till smooth. Temper egg mixture by slowly adding to hot milk, whisking constantly.
Cook over medium-high heat and continue to whisk until mixture reaches 160 degrees F and custard coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!
Strain through fine-mesh sieve into clean bowl. When you do, you’ll notice you’ve left some ground nuts behind. I scanned for any eggy bits and otherwise added the nutty part back to the gelato. Let cool to room temperature. Stir in almond extract and salt. You can make an ice bath to speed up the process. Chill custard overnight or at least four hours.
Just before turning the chilled custard into your ice cream maker, place the custard and the dasher from your machine into the freezer for up to 10 minutes. And now, into the spin cycle: process according to your ice cream machine’s directions.
So as Prince sang, “Let’s go crazy…let’s get nuts!” You just might get nuts about this nutty, creamy gelato. And if you do, be sure to take me with you. HA HA HA! Seriously, try it and see!