Pistachio Cream Dessert  

(“Crema al Pistacchio di Bronte”) 

 

At the lower slopes of Mount Etna, in the territory around the town of Bronte, large quantity of pistachios are produced. 

Sicily is the only Italian region where pistachio trees are grown: Bronte pistachios are preferred for its delicate aroma, the nutty and delightful light sweet-sour taste. The nuts are soft but have a crunchy texture. These popular nuts are a well-liked snack and are eaten plain or salted, fresh or roasted; also they are used in desserts, added in cooking to a variety of international cuisine, in gourmand dishes and to preserved meats. 

In fact, the pistachio nuts are the seed of a small tree, originally from Iran, which spread in Central Asia, the Middle East, and many regions in the southern part of the Mediterranean Basin and in Sicily. Later was cultivated in the United States which is now one of the biggest producers after Iran. 

Pistachios have long been the most valuable economic resource for the town of Bronte, where it is called “oro verde” green gold. 

The use of pistachio is widespread all over Sicily; bakers utilize it for garnish and in the preparation of nougat, -torrone-, pastries, cookies, cakes, ice cream, - il gelato-, and pistachio cream. 

Pistacchi

Housewives employ it in making various pasta sauces, risotti, for condiment from fish to meat and to bake homemade torte and biscuits. 

The industries processing meats, sausages, gourmet food use a sizable amount of pistachio; in addition the oil and the seeds are valuable elements in the preparations of medical creams and beauty product in the fields of dermatology and cosmetology. 

The pistachio cream is a custard dessert often served in parfait glasses, in champagne cups, in goblet glasses, or in small soufflé dishes: the recipe does not have strict parameters and each baker or housewife has their own secret recipe. Some bake it, freeze it and most often add chocolate, berries or a liqueur. 

Serve the pistachio cream dessert, very cold, topped with whipped creams, sprinkled with toasted pistachio nuts and a maraschino cherry on top. 

  

SERVES 4  

Ingredients

 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 cups of milk 
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 2 tablespoons of flour  
  • 1 piece of orange peel 
  • 3 egg yolks  
  • pinch of salt 
  • 1 drop of vanilla essence 
  • 1 ¼ cup shelled pistachio nut, roasted, not salted 
  • some whipped cream  
  • 4 maraschino cherries 

 

PREPARATION 

 

Remove the thin brownish skin, by immerging shelled pistachios into boiling water for 2 minutes, drain, let cool than wrap into a kitchen towel and rub until the skin comes off. 

Set aside a small amount of pistachio whole, to use for garnish and ground the remaining nuts into fine powder, using an electric mixer. 

Heat the milk, salt and the orange peel in a 2 quart heavy saucepan, at a low heat. 

At the same time in a bowl mix the sugar, ground pistachios and the flour; whip the egg yolks and add to bowl, stirring with a wire whisk until well homogenized.  

When the milk is warm add 1 cup to the bowl a little at a time, stirring continuously to avoid lumping.  

Transfer egg mixture into the pot with milk, stirring continuously and increasing the heat a little bit. 

When it starts to thicken and bubble, lower the heat and continue cooking, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes. 

Remove from fire, discard orange peel, mix in the vanilla and divide equally the cream into 4 parfaits glasses, small bowls or cups. Cover with plastic wrap or wax paper and store in the refrigerator for a few hours to cool or until ready to use. 

To serve, garnish each serving with a scoop of whipped cream, a few pistachios and a maraschino cherry. 

It can also be served with shaved chocolate or “affogato” drown with a shot of Sicilian Lemoncello, cherry liqueur or else strawberry flavored rosolio (liqueur) as well a brandy or your preferred spirit. 

 

VARIATION 

 

If you prefer a creamier custard fold one cup of whipped cream into the cooled pistachio cream, divide equally in 4 glasses and storage in freezer until ready to serve.