Did you know my last name used to be Pistachio? Okay, not really... my last name actually used to be Birchard but before it was Birchard it was Pistachio. You see my great grandpa one day changed his last name from Pistachio to Birchard. Why? Well, there are three different tales as to why.
Then, I heard the second tale... Mr. Pistachio fell in love with a beautiful french woman. Unable to marry her with such an Italian name, he changed his last name to Birchard and they lived happily ever after. I like that one, it's very fairy tale like and what girl doesn't like a good love story? Unfortunately, that was just a tall tale.
The real reason why he didn't keep his nutty name? Well, he had opened a convenient store and titled it using his last name. But since Italians were associated with the Mafia, business was a no go. Therefore, he changed his name to something less crime-related and that is how Birchard came about.
Now that you've had a history lesson on my family, how about some ice cream to celebrate?
So I made some myself and I really don't know how I survived this long without pistachio ice cream in my freezer.
Pistachio Ice Cream
1 cup shelled pistachios*
3/4 cup sugar, divided
2 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
1 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup coarsely chopped pistachios
Finely grind pistachios and 1/4 cup sugar in blender or food processor. Mix pistachios with milk and bring to a very gentle boil in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks with the remaining sugar until smooth. While whisking vigorously, slowly pour milk mixture into egg yolks.
Return custard to saucepan. Heat over medium heat until custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Strain mixture through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth. Press down pistachios with a back of a spatula to release milk and flavors. Chill in refrigerator until cool, at least 2 hours.
Stir in heavy cream then freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions. About half way through processing, add in chopped pistachios.
*Note: I used salted pistachios since they were what I had on hand and it came out tasting fine. However, if you have unsalted pistachios, you can use those as well.