Dried Apricot and Pistachio Ice Cream


So, apparently, the Super Bowl is happening in New York tomorrow. Yeah, that’s how much Steve and I follow football. To our defense, the Super Bowl is technically in New Jersey, not in New York city. But honestly, it could be two blocks away and we still wouldn’t know who’s playing in it. I saw the team names by accident today, while reading an article in the Styles section of the New York Times, so I blurted them out at lunch with a friend, making it seem like I always knew it was the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks (see how I did that?). They both looked at me with a look that said Who are you? so I told them the truth.


More pressing around here has been the weather. Days and days of below freezing temperatures have made even me, an avid winter lover, complain about the cold. You know it’s getting too cold when the East River fills with big, flat chunks of ice, floating down from upstate New York like mini icebergs, creating delays for the ferry. When you’re on a rickety old ferry boat, floating over a river that is so cold it freezes, the sound of thumps and scraping noises that it makes as it passes over sheets of ice can be very disconcerting.


So, it might seem strange that I am posting an ice cream recipe today but it’s really a way to cheat and give yourself a taste of summer. No fresh fruit around? No problem. Ice cream genius David Lebovitz has the solution. Take some dried apricots and reconstitute them with the help of some sweet wine and blend them into an ice cream. Given what’s around this time of hear, it’s really the best you can do.

Oh, and enjoy the Super Bowl. Go <insert you favorite team name here>!!

Dried Apricot and Pistachio Ice Cream – Slightly adapted from Perfect Scoop: Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, and Sweet Accompaniments

Makes about 3 cups (750 ml)


5 oz (140 g) dried apricots, quartered
3/4 cup (180 ml) sweet white wine (or dry white wine with 1 tablespoon of sugar blended in)
1/2 cup (70 g) shelled pistachio nuts (preferably unsalted)
2/3 cup (130 g) sugar
1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a small saucepan, warm the apricot pieces with the wine. Simmer for 5 minutes, cover, remove from heat, and let stand for 1 hour. Meanwhile, coarsely chop the pistachios.

Purée the apricots with the wine in a blender along with the sugar, milk, cream, and lemon juice until smooth.

Chill the mixture in the refrigerator and then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last minute of churning, add the chopped pistachio nuts, or layer them as you scoop the ice cream into the container where you will keep it.

Lemon Cornmeal Pistachio Muffins


Every now and then, I’ll see a recipe title and I will know, instantly, that not only will I make that recipe, but that I will love the end result. That is exactly what happened with these muffins. Their recipe comes from Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients, the amazing cookbook by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. The first time I leafed through the book, as soon as I saw the words “lemon,” “cornmeal,” and “pistachio” together in the title, I immediately bookmarked it.


If I remember correctly, it was the first recipe I tried from that cookbook and I wasn’t mistaken. The end result was indeed as great as I thought it would be. These are not super sweet muffins. They are not giant, moist, cakey muffins, like those you’ll find at your grocery store. They are almost hearty. They are slightly tangy, with a satisfying crunch from the cornmeal and a finishing nuttiness from the pistachios on top. They make a great breakfast but an even better snack in the afternoon with some hot tea.


Lemon Cornmeal Pistachio Muffins – From Baked Elements: The Importance of Being Baked in 10 Favorite Ingredients

Makes 12 muffins


1/2 cup shelled pistachios
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
3 oz unsalted butter (3/4 stick), melted and cooled
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder


In a food processor, pulse the pistachios until they are coarsely chopped. Remove 1/4 cup of the chopped pistachios and set aside. Continue to process the remaining pistachios in the food processor until they are almost powdery.

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan (or use paper cups to line it).

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs. Add the sour cream, the lemon juice, the zest and the butter and whisk them until they are combined.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour cornmeal, sugar, salt, the powdery pistachios, and the baking powder. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients in it. Fold everything together until just mixed. Don’t overmix them.

Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and sprinkle the tops with the coarsely chopped pistachios. Bake for about 12-15 minutes until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Transfer the pan on a wire rack and let it cool for 10 minutes. Take the muffins out and serve immediately or let them cool completely and store them in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic wrap for 2 days. They also freeze very well.