Pistachio ice cream

The invention of pistachio ice cream is credited to James Wood Parkinson, which is said to have come up with the idea in Philadelphia, USA in 1940. At the time, Philadelphia ice cream was made differently to French ice cream. In the States, the recipe was simply churned milk, cream, sugar and flavourings. There was no custard step. But the popularity of pistachio ice cream meant that European ice cream makers started to add pistachio flavours to their own, custardy ice creams.

In his reference volume Cook School, chef Nick Nairn has a recipe for vanilla ice cream that also adds glucose syrup. I have been making this recipe for years without really understanding why the glucose is used instead of normal sugar.

So I asked Chef Nick:

The Nosey Chef gets a bit of critical information from Chef Nick Nairn.

Well I never. Nick told me that it enables a home cook to store ice cream for longer than if using sugar alone. That explains why this recipe is so reliable. Here, we adapt the Nairn method to pistachio nuts.

Thanks of course to Nick Nairn.

Pistachio ice cream

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Serves: 6–8
Cooking Time: 20 mins


  • 300ml full fat milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 30g liquid glucose
  • 25g pistachio paste
  • 1 handful of pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 90 g caster sugar



Put the milk and cream in a pan, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Stir in the glucose and pistachio paste. Set aside.


Beat the egg yolks and sugar until fluffy and pale (use a stand mixer).


Reheat cream a little (just to make it flow, but not enough to scramble the eggs) and add it to the bowl with the eggs while whisking (just run the stand mixer and slowly put the cream in).


Scrape mixture back into the pan and heat slowly to 82˚C (use a thermometer) to thicken to coating consistency – do not boil or it will split). Strain to remove lumps and cool with some cling wrap on the surface to prevent skinning.


Churn the ice-cream in a machine, add the nuts, stir, transfer to a plastic carton and freeze.

You Might Also Like

1 Comment

  • Reply
    09/11/2022 at 3:28 pm

    James Wood Parkinson was long gone by the 1940s:

    “The Pistachio ice Cream Flavour was invented and made famous by the Parkinson’s family somewhere in the mind 20 century (1940’s). However the origin of it lay back over a hundred years earlier.

    James Wood Parkinson (1818-1895 {77 years old}) who was the son of two confectioners by trade; a Scottish-born mother, Eleanor Wood, and his English-born father, George Parkinson.”

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.