Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cherry Pit Ice Cream - July 15, 2010

Noyaux Ice Cream

Two treats are on tap this week due to my lack of one last week. The first is a new and exciting ice cream. While researching recipes for sour cherries, I came across a link for cherry pit ice cream and my interest was piqued. It turns out that once the hard outer layer of the cherry pit is cracked, a tiny little kernel lies inside. This kernel, referred to as noyaux in French, packs a very strong flavor, apparently like that of bitter almonds, which are used to make 'almond' extract. Thus finally solving for me the mystery of why almond extract doesn't really taste like almonds.

Noyaux (Cherry Pit Kernels)

Excited that I would be able to use yet another part of my cherry harvest, I went to work cracking open my pits by wrapping them in a towel and giving them a quick tap with a hammer. I thought it would be a tedious task, but it ended up being quite enjoyable, mostly because the pits cracked easier than I anticipated, but also because I was so delighted by the tiny 'almonds' I found inside. After I had my bowl full of kernels, I simply followed the recipe. The ice cream is delicious with a faintly sweet flavor similar to amaretto, although not nearly so strong. The consistency turned out extra creamy and thick...and it made a lot. This ice cream will be showing up all summer for dessert at our house.

Another recipe can be found here.
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j.j. said...

OOOHHH! So cool!!! What a good researcher you are to find discoveries such as these! Fun for all of us to see.

Fay's Too said...

I must have spit 20 bushels of tart cherry pits at my friends while growing up and got twice that many back. Now you tell me ice cream can be made of them.
The things you learn on the interweb!

maxima88x said...

ummmmm......cherry pits are toxic...they contain cyanide!!!! may be lethal if ingested in large quantities so wouldn't make an icecream out of it!!

Jess said...

maxima88x: You are right, the kernels of all stone fruit contain cyanogens, which produce hydrogen cyanide when broken or damaged (other foods containing cyanogens include tapioca, lima beans, almonds, and bamboo shoots). The amounts are so small, however, that it is rarely a danger. The amount used in this recipe falls well below any risk level.

In fact, the cyanogens found in stone fruit seeds are prised because they produce a compound called benzaldehyde, which is the essence of wild almond flavor. It has been used for centuries to make almond extract (which this ice cream tastes like) and to flavor liquors such as amaretto, and candies such as marzipan. If you are concerned, however, foods containing cyanogens are made safe for consumption by open boiling, leaching in water, and fermentation. Both open boiling and leaching (in milk) were used in this recipe.

*sources: On Food and Cooking: the science and lore of the kitchen, by Harold McGee.


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