Pistachio Chai Ice Cream

december 17, 2016

As a winter person, I realize I am in the minority. Sure, palm trees and sandy beaches are lovely to behold, but give me a winter sunset with crimson and lavender streaks against the silhouettes of bare trees any day. Iced tea for warmer months and a hot steaming mug of chai in colder months, with ice cream never, ever going out of season. Yep, bringing the seasons in harmony means inspiration for another homemade ice cream recipe.

As with Smoky Tea Ice Cream, I’m combining two loves by steeping sweetened milk in chai tea spices and concocting a frozen treat studded with roasted pistachios for texture. There are likely  many variations of what constitutes chai spice, just like there are dozens of lasagna recipes and hundreds of brownie incarnations. This is my take on chai spicing, similar to the spice group I used in Chai Spiced Apple Cider Sorbet.

pistachio chai ice cream

When I make the ice cream base, sugar is melted in the heated milk mixture to avoid a grainy texture. Spices settle in the mix and this fragrant elixir is chilled overnight; strained the next day, cream and vanilla are added and all is placed in the running electric ice cream machine. Twenty or so minutes later, add one cup dry roasted unsalted pistachios and after all is mixed for a few minutes, you have soft serve pistachio chai ice cream. For a traditional ice cream consistency, freeze at least six hours.

pistachio chai ice cream

pistachio chai ice cream

Pistachio Chai Ice Cream

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

makes about  one quart                                            


1 ½ cup whole milk
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
scant ¼ cup whole star anise
1 tablespoon fennel seed
1 tablespoon whole black pepper
1 ½ tablespoons cardamom pods, smashed
1 teaspoon whole cloves
2 inch knob fresh ginger, unpeeled and chopped coarsely
3 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dry roasted unsalted pistachios


  1. In heavy one quart saucepan, combine milk and sugar over medium low heat and stir with spatula until sugar is melted, about 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add dry spices and ginger, stir and allow to come to room temperature before chilling the mixture overnight in a glass or stainless steel container.
  3. Strain the mixture once well chilled, add vanilla and heavy cream, then pour this into a running electric ice cream machine.
  4. After 20-23 minutes when the mixture begins to thicken, add the pistachios and allow the machine to run another minute or so until the nuts are evenly incorporated.
  5. Serve immediately for soft serve, or chill at least 6 hours for ice cream consistency.





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