Raw chocolate pistachio gelato

Raw chocolate pistachio gelato

I’ve dreamt about visiting the Cinque Terre for years – since before Thom ignited my love for travel and long before I had enough money in a savings account to do so. There was something about the area’s rolling hills and colorful coastal villages that caught my eye and put it at the very top of my bucket list. And now, here I am with my favorite person – in Vernazza – nestled right in the heart of it all. We’re renting a kitchenless apartment without a television or connection to the internet (and only enough hot water for two five minute showers), but I’m embracing it and using it as an opportunity to disconnect from the world and to try to know myself better. I think it’s a good thing – every once in a while – to be without wifi or any other sort of technological distraction, and to be forced to sit here with our wild thoughts and our beating hearts and take in the almost overwhelming stillness of a place.

Early this morning Thom left to tend to matters surrounding our train tickets, and I did just that: I sat in bed, beneath a pile of covers, eating porridge from a mug while soaking up the silence and trying to process the things I’ve seen and felt and experienced these past few months. Moments after settling into my comfy place, a woman came by my window, sweeping and humming as she made her way through the convoluted stone pathways. Eventually her hums turned to words and I found myself hanging onto every last one of them. With each long pause I wanted to jump from bed and throw open the shutters and beg her to keep going; to keep singing because I needed her soothing vocals more than I needed to clear my mind or to try to make sense of what the hell was going on at that strange art exhibit in Warsaw. But I didn’t. Instead I zoned out in the stillness for a good hour, listening to her intermittent version of Maria, Mari, before I decided it was time to pull myself from the comfortable nook I created and get on with the rest of the day.

We have less than 18 hours in the place that once sat at the top of my bucket list (CHECK), and despite the fact that the world outside our apartment is cold and windy and gray, it’s not going to stop us from putting on our warmest clothes and setting out to find the best fresh pasta, dark chocolate gelato, and wine straight from the vineyards we’ve hiked through these past couple of days. Tomorrow morning we board a 6AM train that will carry us to the south of France – and although I’m not ready to leave this place, I’d be lying if I said I’m not a little bit excited to stuff my face with fresh baguettes, again (even if my body has been disagreeing with the influx of gluten it’s been receiving these past couple of weeks).

Wherever you are, I hope your hearts are full, heads well rested, and bellies in the mood for a little something indulgent, but still relatively healthy: My best raw chocolate gelato, sans all the processed stuff.


4 ingredientsCacao powderRaw pistachiosChurnin'Raw chocolate pistachio gelatoRaw chocolate pistachio gelato

Notes: There’s a lot of fat in this recipe. It’s made with nuts. It’s a dessert. If you want something healthy, eat a fruit salad. If you want to reduce the fat, add more water (or use fewer cashews), but it’s not going to be nearly as creamy. If you prefer super a super thick base, reduce the water to 2 1/2 cups. I’ve tried making the gelato using both almonds and pistachios as the base, but neither version turned out nearly as creamy as the cashew variety. As for the sweetener, fruit is the only true raw sweetener (looking at you, agave nectar), but if you’re not concerned with preserving true raw status, you can use 1/3 cup of maple syrup, coconut nectar, agave nectar, etc.


1 3/4 cups raw cashews
3 1/2 cups filtered water, plus more for soaking
14 medjool dates, pitted and soaked 15 minutes
1/2 cup cacao powder
1/2 cup pistachios, chopped

Place the cashews in a small bowl, cover with water and soak for 6 hours, or overnight (if you don’t have a high speed blender, the longer you soak the cashews, the better). Once the cashews have soaked, discard the soaking water and transfer the cashews to the container of a high speed blender, such as a Vitamix. Add the water and blend on high speed for 45-60 seconds. Add the dates (soaking water discarded) and cacao powder; blend mixture on high speed for at least 90 seconds, or until super smooth. Transfer mixture to a large bowl, cover with plastic, and refrigerate for at least one hour. Once it’s chilled, transfer to the bowl of your ice cream maker and mix according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Once the gelato starts to thicken, add the pistachios. You can store it in a freezer safe container until ready to consume. Thaw for 20 minutes prior to serving.

Yield: about 2 quarts


  • Reply thelittleloaf 10 October 2013 at 8:08 AM

    Hooray for creamy nutty full fat desserts! I’ve never made it to the Cinque Terre despite spending almost every summer of my life in Italy…it’s on the list, definitely need to get there soon :-)

  • Reply Sini 10 October 2013 at 8:37 AM

    “Oh, yummy” is all I can think of right now.
    I hope you enjoy your trip. Stay safe!

  • Reply janae @ bring joy 10 October 2013 at 8:42 AM

    I second the first comment. Such a decadent dessert. Perfect.

  • Reply Emma Galloway 10 October 2013 at 8:54 AM

    Ooh la la, I have a very similar recipe in my book! Great minds think alike eh? :-)

  • Reply Belinda @themoonblushbaker 10 October 2013 at 8:57 AM

    I say thank goodness for fat. If I want to eat healthy I have a carrot. Gorgeous photos, it is warming up were I live so this definitely on the to do list

  • Reply Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe 10 October 2013 at 9:16 AM

    This sounds utterly delicious. I ain’t afraid of no fat. In fact, I welcome it with open arms. I love reading these travel stories – they are little gems that pop up in my reader and I am always looking forward to the next one! Although they always give me pangs of envy – I do hope to get to Cinque Terre one day too.

  • Reply Katie @ Veggie and the Beast 10 October 2013 at 9:20 AM

    BEAUTIFUL! I saw you post this picture on Instagram months ago and have been looking forward to the recipe ever since. I’ll have to try this once I get that Vitamix I’ve been [not-so-subtly] hinting at wanting for Christmas :)

  • Reply Abby @ The Frosted Vegan 10 October 2013 at 9:28 AM

    Gorgeous words and photos, as usual! Enjoy your time, my cubicle sitting self is envious of you!

  • Reply Rosie 10 October 2013 at 10:40 AM

    OH my god, this sounds amazing. I’ve had my mum’s ice cream maker in my guest bedroom for weeks now waiting for the perfect recipe to test it out on, and this is THE ONE! Can’t wait to give it a go!

  • Reply Kimberley 10 October 2013 at 10:47 AM

    YES. I love disconnecting and find that sometimes, it’s only when circumstances force it that I can actually have that pause, that space. And also, this gelato. Holy eff.

  • Reply Ruthy @ Omeletta 10 October 2013 at 11:30 AM

    What a lovely way to spend a morning! I’m glad you cherished it for what it was worth. And I’m impressed by the fact that this is a raw gelato! I know a few vegans who would be uber-happy with this one…

  • Reply Mallory @ Because I Like Chocolate 10 October 2013 at 11:42 AM

    What a yummy dessert, not to mention your trip sounds unreal. You are never going to want to come home!!!

  • Reply Christine 10 October 2013 at 11:57 AM

    Choosing not to invite television, an Internet connection, or other technology into my home is the most centering decision that I’ve ever made. People are startled when I mention it to them, and sometimes it makes me feel like I’m 60 instead of 24, but it really allows me to focus on life. I’m surprised that most of the apartments where you’ve stayed in Europe HAVE had WiFi.

    It’s fun to read of another’s travels. Thanks!

  • Reply Christina @ Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe 10 October 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Yum, this sounds amazing. Pinning it now!

  • Reply Nicole de B. 10 October 2013 at 1:44 PM

    We went to the Cinque Terre last year, and stayed in Vernazza. I fell in love with that little town. So beautiful– and taking our pastries and espresso to the harbor to enjoy our breakfasts there with the morning sun and surf are some of my favorite memories. And in the evenings, going to sit in the same spot with our gelato– such delicious gelato!!! And I didn’t even feel guilty– all the hiking more than made up for those calories!

  • Reply Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 10 October 2013 at 2:33 PM

    The cinque terre is gorgeous! I went two years ago and absolutely loved it. Also, looooove this dessert!

  • Reply Akshara Vivekananthan 10 October 2013 at 4:32 PM

    Wow, your picture took me away at first glance! This looks so delicious. And your story of the singing lady is cheerful! What a lovely memory added to your trip. I hope you’ve found the best pasta, gelato, and wine!! :)

  • Reply dixya@food, pleasure, and health 10 October 2013 at 5:24 PM

    gorgeous photos and such a lovely recipe.

  • Reply Chelsea 10 October 2013 at 6:22 PM


  • Reply Yvonne 10 October 2013 at 7:08 PM

    This looks amazing! Quick question on the recipe — when do the pistachios get added in? Are they stirred in before it’s refrigerated? Before it goes in the ice cream maker? Mixed in after it’s been frozen? Thanks!

  • Reply gail shingler 10 October 2013 at 9:24 PM

    Brilliant as always; the writing, the sentiments, the recipe. Our cashews are soaking as I type. Thx.

  • Reply sarah 10 October 2013 at 9:42 PM

    Lovely post. I can’t wait to try this. And, I love your image of the woman singing; so beautiful. I’ve felt that way before. xo

  • Reply Kiran @ KiranTarun.com 11 October 2013 at 10:52 PM

    This looks divine! Love the combo of chocolate and pistachios!

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  • Reply Jenny @ BAKE 13 October 2013 at 11:31 AM

    this gelato sounds incredible and your photos are beautiful!

  • Reply Kathryn 14 October 2013 at 5:24 AM

    Yes! This gelato is everything I want at the moment. I’m glad you’re still having a fantastic trip and getting to cross of some of that bucket list. I’m jealous of your trip to the South of France too, I hope you love it there as much as I do.

  • Reply sara forte 14 October 2013 at 9:02 PM

    I love it there too! So glad you went and thrilled you’re having a great time. Fruit salads are for breakfast, THIS is for dessert. Lovely post, missy.

  • Reply Shikha @ Shikha la mode 15 October 2013 at 12:43 AM

    Everything about this recipe and your trip sounds amazing. Live it up and can’t wait to see photos!

  • Reply Teffy 16 October 2013 at 12:54 PM

    I love pistachio. I love chocolate. I am bound to LOVE this.

  • Reply Jessica @ Floptimism 19 October 2013 at 7:43 AM

    I absolutely love the idea of a raw ice cream that isn’t just frozen bananas! (I love frozen banana cream too, but I’m always on the lookout for unique recipes.) I wanted to let you know that I loved this post so much that I featured it on my blog’s Weekend Wrap-Up. Thank you for such a delicious sounding recipe, and I hope you have a great weekend!

    Here’s the link to the wrap-up — I’d love you to stop by!

  • Reply Edwina 19 October 2013 at 9:31 PM

    This sound and looks wonderful. For someone who is dairy free this is the ideal gelato. Thanks so much for sharing.

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  • Reply Andy 9 November 2013 at 5:25 PM

    That looks absolutely delicious! I so want to eat that right now!

  • Reply Heather 15 February 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I don’t like dates, which should not be in a Gelato anyway. why isn’t there any eggs?
    that is one of the ingredients in gelato. this is not real Gelato at all.

    • Reply Ashlae 15 February 2014 at 5:42 PM

      Wow, you’re really passionate about gelato.

      • Reply Katie @ Veggie and the Beast 12 May 2014 at 3:10 PM

        haha, your reply to this [rude] comment made me laugh out loud. I’m making this recipe TONIGHT. I have a food processor that’s mighty (but not vitamix-level mighty), so I soaked my cashews for exxxxxtra long. :)

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  • Reply MJ 21 July 2014 at 7:40 PM

    I made this and it’s OMG FABULOUS!! Thank you for posting such a perfect, easy recipe! My nephews have requested we sub mint and vegan chocolate chips for the pistachios; can you please advise me as to how much mint oil to add in order to make mint chocolate chocolate chip ice cream? Thank you, again!

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