“Baba gave us each a weekly allowance of ten Afghanis and we spent it on warm Coca-Cola and rosewater ice cream topped with crushed pistachios”–The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.

With National Ice Cream Month about to vanish into our thighs (and because David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop is taunting us from our bookshelves) let's pause for a moment and think about the important role that ice cream plays in…

Nevermind. Let's go make some ice cream, with a little literary inspiration. Pistachios and rosewater go together like salt and chocolate. At once floral, nutty, and milky-sweet, this ice cream adaptation of a fictional childhood memory is a fitting way to close out a month of contrived ice cream homage. Because really, every month is ice cream month.

Pistachio-Rosewater Ice Cream

Note: Rosewater is available at local Middle-eastern markets. If you're at one of the many area farmers markets, the Santa Barbara Pistachio Company sells excellent California-grown pistachios.

Makes: about 1 1/2 pints

1 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios

2 cups evaporated milk

¾ cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (not imitation)

5 egg yolks

1 cup heavy cream

2 ½ teaspoons rosewater

1. Crush the pistachios in a mortar and pestle or chop in a food processor.

2. Mix the milk, sugar, and vanilla in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan; add the pistachios and bring to a light boil. Allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes, then remove from the heat.

pistachio custard is ready; Credit: Felicia Friesema

pistachio custard is ready; Credit: Felicia Friesema

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and slowly mix in about a cup of the hot milk-pistachio liquid to temper the eggs. Add the egg yolk-milk mixture to the saucepan, whisking as you pour it in. Cook the custard over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard clings to the back of a spoon and your finger can run a path through it without it running. Meanwhile, set a bowl large enough for the custard over an ice bath.

Pistachio-Rosewater Ice Cream; Credit: Felicia Friesema

Pistachio-Rosewater Ice Cream; Credit: Felicia Friesema

4. Remove the custard from the heat and immediately strain into the bowl set over the ice bath. Thoroughly chill the custard, placing a piece of plastic over the custard when it's cooled slightly so that a skin doesn't form.

5. When the custard has chilled, mix in the heavy cream and rosewater and prepare according to your ice cream maker's instructions.

Side note: Don't discard the milk-cooked pistachios – they are soft and chewy, sweet and rich. Use them to top your ice cream, cupcakes, cereal, or eat them straight with a spoon. You could probably even use them to make bahklava.

Felicia Friesema also writes More, please.

LA Weekly