Hidden within the pit of an apricot is a kernel, or noyau, rife with the perfume of almonds, vanilla, apricots and lilies. The fragrance is intoxicating, simultaneously familiar and indescribable, and entirely worth extracting and capturing in a jar to add to preserves, whipped cream, custard, ice cream, cakes and even aperitifs all year long. To disable the amygdalin the noyaux contain, and prevent the body from converting it to cyanide, give the kernels a quick toast before steeping them in the alcohol.
- Serves: 1 person
- 25to 30 noyaux (apricot kernels)
- 1 ¾cups vodka, bourbon or light rum
Step 1Heat oven to 300 degrees. If kernels are wet, allow to dry, then spread them onto a baking sheet, and toast for 10 minutes. The noyaux shouldn’t take on any color. Remove from oven, and allow to cool.
Step 2Place noyaux and liquor in a pint jar. Cover, and place in a dark, cool, dry place for 3 months or longer. Give the jar a shake once in a while when you think of it. Strain extract to remove debris as you use it — the longer the kernels remain in the liquor, the more aromatic and flavorful the extract will become. You can also add more kernels as they accumulate, topping off with more liquor, resulting in an infinite supply of extract.