This recipe for pistachio gelato and sweet, buttery brioche with the signature “tuppo” (bun on the head) was inspired by my recent trip to Sicily — I found it around every corner in Palermo, and a meal just wasn’t complete without it. Even though I tried many different flavors, I always came back to pistachio. Needless to say, I was still craving this dessert when I got back to the U.S. and knew I had to try my hand at making it…and this is the result!
Gelato con Brioche
For the pistachio gelato:
Yields approximately 8 servings
- 180-200 grams shelled pistachios
- 500 milliliters whole milk
- 500 milliliters heavy cream
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams sugar
- 88 grams egg yolks (approximately 4 large yolks)
- Grind the pistachios in a food processor until finely ground, then set aside. Do not over grind — you’ll end up with nut butter!
- In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of sugar.
- In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, 1/2 cup of sugar and pinch of salt on medium-low, stirring occasionally.
- When the mixture begins to simmer, ladle about 1/2 cup into the egg yolks and sugar while whisking constantly.
- Slowly pour the remaining milk and cream mixture into the egg yolks, stirring constantly.
- Add in ground pistachios and return to saucepan.
- Stir the mixture until it reaches 170-170F, making sure to scrape the bottom as you stir.
- Take the mixture off the heat and strain into a large bowl through a sieve, extracting as much of the liquid from the ground nuts. Add about half of the nuts back into the mixture to give your gelato some crunch!
- Stir in the the vanilla extract.
- Place the mixture over a bowl of ice, stirring occasionally until it reaches room temperature. Cover and refrigerate overnight before churning in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. I churn mine for about 15 minutes.
For the brioche:
Yields approximately 11-12 servings
- 180 milliters warm water (not above 115F)
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast (1 envelope) + 1 tablespoon sugar to activate yeast
- 70 grams sugar
- 190 grams all-purpose flour
- 358 grams 00 flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 75 grams unsalted butter, melted
- 114 grams eggs (2 eggs)
- 1 extra egg for egg wash
- 3 teaspoons honey
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add warm water, 1 tablespoon sugar, and active yeast. Let the mixture sit for approximately 5 minutes.
- After the yeast mixture has begun to froth and look bubbly, add the all-purpose flour, 00 flour, sugar, salt, 2 eggs, and honey. Mix on low using the paddle attachment for about 1 minute until just combined.
- Switch to the dough hook and knead until the mixture comes together, about 4 minutes.
- Add the melted butter to the dough. Don’t worry if the mixture separates at this stage. Knead for another 6-7 minutes on low and it will come together. At this point, dough should be soft, elastic, and slightly sticky to the touch.
- Cover and let rise for 50 minutes to 1 hour depending on your kitchen temperature. It’s ready when a dent pressed into the dough remains.
- After the first rise, divide the dough into 90 gram balls. From each ball, break off 12 grams of dough and roll into a ball to form the tuppo.
- Place the larger balls of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Make a deep dent in each ball and nestle the tuppos into them. Making sure the dents are deep enough prevents tuppos from falling off during rising.
- Cover with a towel and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until indentations in the dough sides remain. About 45 minutes to 1 hour into this second rise, preheat your oven to 350F.
- Mix the remaining 1 egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Lightly brush each brioche bun with the egg wash.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are golden.
- Take the gelato out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Cut brioche buns in half and slather on as much gelato as you dare!
Love this recipe? Check out this one for Earl Grey tea madeleines.