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White Chocolate Gelato with Pistachio Cream Swirl

Serves: Makes about 1½ quarts


  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ cup (100 g) sugar
  • 6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1½ cups (240 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 (6.3-ounces/ 180-g) jar crema di pistachio


The town of Bronte at the foot of Mount Etna is prized for its flavorful, bright green pistachios, originally brought to Sicily by tenth-century Arab conquerors. The nuts are showcased in that town and throughout the island in all manner of desserts. This gelato recipe is from my sister-in-law, Giuseppina, who lives in Palermo and makes her own gelato at home. She adds flair and flavor to a white chocolate ice cream by swirling in a paste made from the sweetened pistachios. The recipe calls for crema di pistachio, a sweetened pistachio cream found in some upscale food stores, or ordered online. For the best quality, make sure the paste comes from Bronte. If you can’t find the pistachio cream, try swirling chocolate- hazelnut paste or other flavorings into the white chocolate gelato. Choose a good-quality white chocolate, such as Valrhona or Guittard.

Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. While it is heating, whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl until thick and creamy. Slowly pour half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.

Pour the milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan, again whisking constantly. Continue to cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat, add the white chocolate, and let it stand for about 2 minutes to allow the chocolate to melt. Stir until completely smooth. Stir in the cream.

Transfer the mixture to a bowl set over a larger bowl filled with ice and water and let cool, stirring occasionally and taking care not to slosh water into the mixture, until cold.

Process the mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions. When it is ready, transfer the ice cream to a bowl and gently stir in the crema di pistachio to create swirls. Pack the ice cream into an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 1 week, before serving.

Reprinted with permission from Southern Italian Desserts: Rediscovering the Sweet Traditions of Calabria, Campania, Basilicata, Puglia, and Sicily copyright © 2013 by Rosetta Costantino with Jennie Schacht. Photography copyright © 2013 by Sara Remington. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.

by Southern Italian Desserts

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