This year has been the year of the apricot for us. We bought them at each opportunity. Now, I realize that it is the type of fruit that goes down in flavor very quickly once it is picked, so maybe the apricots we have access to are not as fantastic as those found right in California or Washington. Still, some were spectacularly juicy and tender. In this post I am sharing not one, not two, but three recipes using not only the fruit but – are you ready for this? – their pits! Yes, and that recipe in particular will blow your mind, I promise. Maybe you won’t be able to make it this year, as the season is over, but next year start buying apricots as early as you can, and freeze the pits. Once you get 20 or so of them, you’ll be ready to make THE most amazing ice cream of your existence. I promise.
TAKE #1: APRICOT COMPOTE
I found this recipe over at Mike’s blog, and made it almost immediately. Vanilla, ginger, and apricots? No need to say anything else. I am not too fond of compotes and jams, but I am so glad I tried this recipe. You should too…
GINGER AND VANILLA APRICOT COMPOTE
(from The Iron You)
1 lb firm ripe apricots, halved and pitted
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 to 3 tablespoons coconut palm sugar
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large skillet combine apricots, lime juice, sugar, ginger, and vanilla extract.
Cook over medium heat, turning occasionally, until apricots are glazed and syrupy, about 7 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and chill.
Serve apricot compote with yogurt or ice cream.
to print the apricot compote recipe, click here
This was absolutely delicious, not too sweet, very simple to prepare, the flavor of lime, ginger, and vanilla playing nicely with the fruit. Great recipe! By the way, if you don’t have coconut palm sugar, use brown sugar or honey. I don’t normally have breakfast, but must say that a small bowl of this compote served with yogurt and a sprinkle of cereal was a nice way to start a particular Saturday morning…. Big thank you to Mike for sharing his recipe!
TAKE #2: APRICOT-PASSION FRUIT SORBET
We make sorbets quite often during the summer. All credit must got to Phil, as he is the one who comes up with fruit combinations and plays with the right proportions to get the best flavor. This batch combined apricots and passion fruit. Refreshing, light, a perfect ending to a summer evening…
APRICOT-PASSION FRUIT SORBET
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)
1.5 lb. fresh apricots
1/2 lb. passion fruit pulp
1 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 ripe banana, cut in pieces
1 Tablespoon vodka (optional, but improves consistency)
Split the apricots in half, remove the pits, and cut each half into chunks. Combine the apricot and water in a saucepan and cook, covered, over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Let the mixture cool to room temperature.
Place the cooked apricots to the bowl of a food processor, add the banana, then puree the mixture until completely smooth. Add the passion fruit and vodka, process briefly to combine. Taste and adjust the amount of sugar if necessary. Cover and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker.
to print the sorbet recipe, click here
The sorbet will stand on its own, but a superb way to indulge in it is by pairing it with….
TAKE #3: NOYAU ICE CREAM
Noyau (also spelled in its plural form, noyaux), the amazing, one and only ice cream made with apricot pits! Sometimes also called nougat ice cream, although it’s not the most appropriate name for it. The recipe comes from one of my favorite food blogs, Pastry Studio. Speaking of which, if you haven’t yet read my little review about Gayle’s book, please take a look here, and order your copy. She is a natural teacher when it comes to all things baking. But, anyway, her description of this ice cream, the way each summer she makes sure to prepare a batch using apricot pits carefully collected, made me crave for it. Wondering about the taste, apparently so unique. Well, this ice cream turned Phil into a compulsive collector of apricot pits. The moment he tasted the first spoonful, he told me we better never EVER run out of it. Yeap, folks. That great. So, without further ado, here it is…
NOYAU ICE CREAM
(from Pastry Studio)
20 apricot pits (see my comments)
3/4 C sugar
3/4 C milk
2 1/4 C heavy cream
4 egg yolks
Break open apricot pits with a hammer to remove the small almond-like kernels inside. You may want to use a cloth to keep the bits from flying. Crush the kernels with a mortar and pestle or chop into small pieces.
Place the sugar, milk, cream and kernels in a saucepan and heat right up to a good simmer but just before it boils. Cover and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes to an hour, tasting periodically to check for strength. It should taste of almond, but not bitter.
When you have the desired flavor, heat the milk mixture a bit and pour some of it into the yolks, whisking constantly to temper the mixture. Pour the yolks and cream back into the pan and cook slowly over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a clean container and cool, stirring occasionally. Chill thoroughly.
Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze. Pour into a clean container, cover the surface of the ice cream with a piece of plastic wrap, be sure the container lid is tight and place in your freezer to firm up.
to print the noyau recipe, click here
Comments: In case I did not make it clear enough, let me state I am absolutely in love with this ice cream! Head over hills, spoons over bowls. Make it. Save those kernels, and make it. To break the pits, we found that once frozen they broke very easily with a nutcracker, so we did not have to use a hammer. Full disclosure: Phil broke them, I watched. But the pits freshly taken from the fruit resisted the nutcracker, so they were sent for time-out into the freezer for proper attitude adjustment. Here is what they will look like once removed from the fruit. You can save those at room temperature for a few days, no problem.
The smell is reminiscent of almonds, with a “je ne sais quoi” in the background. That “je ne sais quoi” will be prominent in the flavor of the ice cream… I am dreaming as I type this paragraph… magic flavor indeed!
You must dice the kernels to optimize the infusion of the cream… and after simmering to develop the flavor (I did it for 45 minutes), simply strain the pits out, and freeze the base of the ice cream… That’s all there is to it!
Gayle, thank you so much for bringing this recipe to our kitchen! It is amazing to think that at my age I would be tasting for the first time something so delicious… a wonderful gastronomic experience indeed!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this triple post on apricots. The season is of course over, but we have about 30 pits saved in the freezer to make one more batch of this ice cream soon. We will savor one spoonful at a time, to try and stretch this delicacy as long as possible in time…
Before I leave you, let me share a link about the “danger” of noyau, linked to the presence of trace amounts of cyanide in the stone fruit pit. As you can see, no need to avoid this delicacy….
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