This is a no-churn pista or pistachio ice cream that has flavors that are reminiscent of Indian kulfi but uses store-bought condensed milk to achieve the creamy texture of ice cream. It's not green in color but it will have your dinner party guests green with envy at how good of a cook you really are!
Ingredients and Substitutes
- Pista aka Pistachios - More specifically shelled, roasted pistachios.
- Heavy Cream - Gives the ice cream lightness and airiness. You can alternatively substitute Cool Whip if you don't want to whip the heavy cream yourself.
- Condensed Milk - Adds the sweetness and creaminess to the ice cream.
Difference between kulfi and ice cream
I developed this no-churn pista ice cream because I wanted something similar in taste to kulfi. However, there are some differences between traditional kulfi and ice cream:
- Ingredients: Ice cream is typically made with heavy cream and sometimes eggs whereas kulfi is made by reducing whole milk until it caramelizes.
- Texture: Ice cream has air incorporated into it, making it creamy and light, whereas kulfi does not have air incorporated into it, making it a bit dense and with a texture that is icy and creamy.
- Melting: Ice cream melts quicker whereas kulfi stays frozen much longer.
- Presentation: Ice cream is made in a large container and scooped into bowls or cones whereas kulfi is formed into individual molds or popsicles.
- Time: Both ice cream and kulfi need time to freeze. Traditionally kulfi is made by slowly reducing milk until it caramelizes and thickens which requires patience and time.
What makes no-churn ice cream creamy?
The secret to any no-churn ice cream, whether it is this pista ice cream or my no-churn kesar mango ice cream, is condensed milk! The reasons why condensed milk creates this texture are:
- Condensed milk has over 60% of the water content removed. The water in milk can often cause ice crystals.
- Condensed milk has a high sugar content which prevents the milk from freezing completely solid in the freezer. This yields a creamy texture when it comes out of the freezer.
- Condensed milk has sugar that has been properly melted into the milk. This step ensures that the texture of the ice cream is not grainy but rather creamy!
What are stiff peaks?
When a recipe calls for stiff peaks you are looking for a whipped cream that has doubled in size and that can hold its own distinct shape.
When whipped cream has reached soft peaks, it will leave light ribbons in the bowl but the whipped cream will collapse on itself after a few minutes.
When whipped cream is over-beaten it will become grainy in texture. It's much harder to over-beat whipped cream if you beat your cream by hand but it can happen within seconds if using an electric or stand mixer. To recover over-beaten cream, gradually add unbeaten cream and slowly whisk until it becomes glossy again.
How to fold in whipped cream?
This question always reminds me of the iconic scene where Moira screams, "fold in the cheese David!" and David exasperatedly shouts, "I don't how to fold in the cheese!" in the TV show Schitt's Creek. Hopefully after seeing these photos and this explanation you will know how to fold in anything from cheese to whipped cream!
Insert the rubber spatula to the bottom of the bowl where the heavier liquid is. Then make a large circular motion to bring the thicker ingredients on top of the light whipped cream. Repeat this motion until the whipped cream and the thicker mixture are homogenized. Taking the time to do this ensures that the final ice cream is airy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Nope! Condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added to it. If you are substituting a can of evaporated milk for condensed milk, add 1.5 cups of sugar to the evaporated milk and simmer on low until the sugar fully dissolves.
This recipe calls for roasted shelled pistachios which are naturally brown in hue after roasting. Since the pistachios are simply folded into this recipe there will be flecks of brownish-green pistachios rather than a base that is brownish-green.
To achieve a natural light green color for the pistachios, use un-roasted pistachios. Then simmer half of the pistachios in the heavy cream for 15 minutes. Allow the cream to cool before whipping. This will add a faint light green color to the final product. For a more pronounced green color, use green food coloring which is what is typically used in store-bought pistachio ice cream.
Shelled, roasted, and salted pistachios. The slight saltiness of the pistachios makes the flavors in this ice cream pop!
Yes, they are exactly the same!
Condensed milk is the key for a creamy no-churn recipe!
If you don't have an electric mixer or stand mixer to whip your heavy cream, simply use a manual whisk to whisk the heavy whipping cream. Alternatively, if you don't want to spend time whisking, you can buy Cool Whip which is already whipped!
The pista ice cream will last for months in the freezer if properly wrapped. If the ice cream stays in the freezer uncovered it can develop freezer burn.
A freezer safe container is anything that is made with plastic or aluminum. You can also use glass but make sure to leave enough space for the ice cream to expand!
Read here to see all the visual cues.
Insert the rubber spatula to the bottom of the bowl where the heavier liquid is. Then make a large circular motion to bring the thicker ingredients to the top with whipped cream that is sitting on the top. Repeat this motion until the whipped cream and the thicker mixture are homogenized. Taking the time to do this ensures that the final ice cream is airy.