Friday, July 4, 2008
Noyau Ice Cream with Nectarine Sauce
A few years ago I discovered the subtle beauty of Noyau Ice Cream. Noyau is the French term for fruit stone and it is also the almond-like kernel inside apricot pits that flavors this ice cream. It gives a very soft flavor of almond yet seems to taste a bit different. Its dreamy pale color is a shade darker than vanilla.
As I mentioned in a recent apricot recipe, I save apricot pits each season to make this ice cream. It somehow manages to remind me of the essence of summer, the quintessential stretch of time full of churning ice creams and sorbets for idyllic pastry menus. If you're like me, once you've tried this recipe you won't ever simply toss those apricot pits again.
- As you might guess, this ice cream is delicious with apricots, cherries or peaches, or any pastry made with these fruits. I can also imagine it with figs. Chocolate would overpower it, but who's to say?
- Wash the apricot pits and let them dry. They can be stored at room temperature for quite a long time.
- The kernels should not look shriveled or dry. They should give off a fairly strong scent when crushed or chopped. If you break a kernel open and it does not give off a scent, it's past its prime.
- I left the nectarine skins on for color and then strained them out. Peel them before chopping if you don't want to go through this step.
Noyau Ice Cream
adapted from Chez Panisse Desserts by Lindsey Shere
Makes about 1 quart
20 apricot pits
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.
4 ripe nectarines
3-4 T water
juice of half a lemon, to taste
sugar, to taste
Pit and chop the nectarines. Place in a saucepan with the remaining ingredients. Cook over low heat until juices are rendered and the nectarines are soft, adding water if needed. Adjust lemon juice and sugar for flavor. Remove from heat and cool.
You can leave the sauce chunky or blend it for a smooth texture.