Johnny's favorite guilty pleasure is ice cream. In fact, that was one of the very first things I learned about him.
His favorite ice cream is spumoni. Unfortunately, the convenience of buying them at the store stopped a few years ago when the economy tanked. A lot of ice creams that used to be whey-free now have whey as the first or second ingredient to cut costs (it's a cheap filler). Johnny hasn't had spumoni in years! (Except one bad experience where he ordered it at a restaurant and we learned later, the hard way, that it had contained whey.)
For Valentine's I wanted to recreate his favorite ice cream! It is usually made up of three parts - pistachio, cherry, and chocolate.
I cheated and bought some at the store, since I was already making the other two at home. I splurged and picked out a really great all-natural one with a short ingredient list, though.
Pistachio: (adapted from an Epicurious recipe)
1 1/4 cup shelled pistachios, divided
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1/2 tsp almond extract
3 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
Grind 1 cup of the pistachios and 1/4 cup of the sugar into a powder in a food processor. Add this mixture and the milk to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the almond extract.
Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar in a medium bowl. Gradually temper this by mixing in about a cup of the hot milk mixture a few tablespoons at a time. Return this to the saucepan, cooking over low heat until the custard thickens. This will take about 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not let boil.
Pour into a large bowl, whisk in the cream, and refrigerate at least 2 hours. Once chilled, process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. During the last few minutes of churning, add the remaining pistachios, chopped.
Makes about 1 quart.
Cherry: (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/4 cup cherry juice concentrate
1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
1 cup vanilla yogurt (I used Chobani fat free)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup frozen cherries
1/2 tsp almond extract
Place all of the ingredients except the cherries in a blender and blend until smooth. Add the cherries and puree until small bits of cherries remain. Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions.
Makes about 1.5 quarts.
I only tried the cherry and the pistachio, so I can't comment on the chocolate.
The pistachio was delicious. I loved the almond extract in there and the chunky bits of the pistachio. The color was terrific! This was Johnny's favorite of the three.
The cherry was also a terrific color. The cherry juice concentrate (a thick syrup) and the yogurt resulted in a tangy flavor, instead of overly sweet. I loved the chunks of cherries in there, too. This was my favorite of the two I tried.