Noyaux, marzipan, amaretto, kirschwasser, cherry jam – there are a lot of recipes that are made with apricot kernels, peach kernels or cherry pits!
Just recently I found out that apricot kernels, cherry pits, peach kernels and peach leaves can be used as natural bitter almond flavoring. ‘Families should always save their peach-kernels, as they can be used in cakes, puddings and custards.’ (Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, 1836, p. 56) And even if the kernels contain amygdalin, which turns into cyanide in the body, it’s safe to consume food prepared with kernels if it’s cooked or baked before eating (more about it here).
Historical Recipes With Apricot Kernels
Victorian Noyaux Apricot Ice Cream
‘Cut in halves and stone one and a half dozen of ripe fleshy apricots; take the meats out of the stones, blanch them in hot water, and put them, with the apricots, into a stew-pan, with one pound of white sugar and one glass of water; let the whole boil to a soft pulp, then rub it through a sieve, and let stand until wanted.
In the mean time, place the yolks of twelve eggs in a stew-pan, and pour upon them gradually one quart of milk, stirring all the while; when well mixed, place the stew-pan over the fire, and stir until it thickens […] mix with the apricots stewed previously, and, when nearly cold, stir into it three glasses of Noyeau’, then freeze. (Practical Cook Book, 1850, p. 212)
‘Stone about 6 lbs. of ripe fleshy apricots, break the stones, and blanch and skin the kernels, which, with the apricots, put into a preserving-pan, add 6 pounds of sugar and place it over a sharp fire, stirring occasionally until boiling, when keep stirring until becoming rather thick, take it off, put it in jars, and when cold tie paper over, and put by until ready for use.’ (The Dictionary of Practical Receipts, 1853, p. 27)
‘Too keep apricot sirup from one season to another, the proportion is two pounds of sugar to a pound of fruit: stone a pound of apricots well ripened, and, having blanched and peeled the kernels, and cut them into little bits, cut the apricots also into slices; […] put them upon the fire with a glass of water, and boil them till reduced to a marmalade; then put them into a sieve, and strain off all the juice; let it settle, and strain it again through a napkin; add this juice to the sugar, and let it boi to the consistence of a strong sirup.’ (French Domestic Cookery, 1825, p. 347)
‘Take a dozen or fifteen apricots, according to the intended size of your pudding, and pour hot water over them till they are soft; then take a small loaf and grate the crumbs over it, to which add a pint, or three-fourths of a quart of boiling cream. Let it stand till nearly cold, and then add two ounces of sugar; the yolks of five eggs well beaten, and a glass of white wine; the apricots must be pounded in a mortar, similar as for an almond pudding, and mix with it all the kernels; the whole must then be well mixed, a paste must be put round the dish, and the pudding baked for half an hour.’ (The Female’s Friend Snd General Domestic Adviser, 1837, p. 43)
‘Take an equal quantity of fruit and sugar: in order to prevent the latter sticking to the pan, moisten it a little with water, and let it boil over a quick fire, or otherwise the colour may not be good. The kernels must be blanched and well pounded, and then added to it. About twenty minutes will be sufficient for the boiling.’ (The Female’s Friend Snd General Domestic Adviser, 1837, p. 43)
‘This is the name give to spirituous liquor when flavoured with the kernels of various fruits, like peaches, apricots, and cherries. It should be dropped into any preparation with great care, as, though very delicious when sparingly used, it is poisonous as well as most unpleasant when moderation is not exercised. Small biscuits flavoured with sweet and bitter almonds are named ratafias. Distilled peach and apricot leaves, when cut in the spring, may be used instead of ratafia for flavouring puddings.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 713) ‘Ratafia may be made by infusing in brandy the fresh blossom of the whitethorn, peach or apricot kernels, or very ripe grapes, and sweetening the same.’ (One Thousand Hints for the Table, 1862, p. 138)
‘Ratafia of apricots is prepared in two ways – namely, either by boiling the apricots in white wine, adding to the liquor an equal quantity of brandy, with sugar, cinnamon, mace, and the kernels of apricots, infusing the whole for eight or ten days, then straining the liquor, and putting it up for use; or by infusing the apricots, cut in pieces, in brandy for a day or two, passing it through a straining bag, and then putting in the usual ingredients.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 714)
‘Take half a pint of the best brandy, and half a quarter of a pint of apricot-kernels, blanch them and bruise them in a mortar, with a spoonful of the brandy, bottle the brandy and the apricot-kernels, with one ounce of loaf sugar; let it stand till it has got the taste of the kernels, then pour it out into a bottle, and cork it close for use. More brandy may be put to the kernels, if you choose.’ (Cookery Made Easy, 1854, p. 72)
Ratafia De Noyeaux – Ratafia Of Kernels
‘Pound about a quarter of a pound of apricot-kernels without being scalded or peeled, a small handful of coriander-feed, and about half an ounce of cinnamon; put this into a proper vessel, and pour about half a gallon of brandy upon it, with a pound and a half of clarified sugar, or more, according to the same proportion; stop the vessel very well, let it infuse about a month in the sun, or in a warm place, then strain it first through a sieve, and afterwards through a funnel, in which put some cotton that it may filtrate clear; or strain it two or three times over in this manner, the more the better, using fresh cotton every time.’ (The Professed Cook: Or, The Modern Art Of Cookery, Pastry, And Confectionary, 1776)
‘Boil three or four laurel, nectarine, or peach-leaves in a cupful of cream for three or four minutes. Strain this, and mix with it a pint of thick cream, add the yolks of three eggs well beaten, and stir the mixture over a gentle fire till it begins to thicken. Pour it out, let it get cold, and before serving sprinkle some hundreds and thousands over it. If preferred, milk may be used instead of cream.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 715)
Moulded Ratafia Cream
‘Rasp the rind of a lemon and a Seville orange, or of two lemons, with four or five good-sized lumps of sugar. Put these into a basin, strain the juice upon them, and stir and crush them till dissolved. Add a pint of thick cream, a quarter of a pint of ratafia, and a quarter of a pint of light wine, or, if preferred, a quarter of a pint of sherry, and the eighth of a pint of brandy, and mix thoroughly. Dissolve an ounce of isinglass or gelatine in a cupful of milk, stir this into the cream, and whisk well. Cover the inside of an earthenware mould with muslin wrung out of cold water. Arrange upon this some ratafia biscuits which have been dipped in cream, pour the mixture in carefully, and let it stand in a cold place till set. Turn it out, and serve.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 715)
Ratafia Ice Cream
‘Beat the yolk of an egg, and stir into it half a pint of cream and half a cupful of new milk. Sweeten it, and put it into a saucepan over a gentle fire with an ounce of ratafias. Stir until it begins to thicken, pour it out, and when cool add the strained juice of half a lemon. Freeze the preparation in the usual way, and when it is set, add a glassful of noyeau, maraschino, or curacoa, and another ounce of crushed ratafias.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 715)
‘This is a liqueur with an agreeable nutty taste. It should only be partaken of, however, in small quantities in consequence of the considerable proportion of prussic acid which it contains. Take three ounces of bruised bitter almonds, one quart of spirit, and a pound of sugar dissolved in three-quarters of a pint of water. Macerate for ten days, shaking the vessel at frequent invervals; at the end of that time let it rest for a few days, then decant the clear liquid. Apricots or peach-kernels, with the shells bruised, may be substituted for the almonds.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 460)
Noyaux ‘will be found useful for flavouring many sweet dishes. A tablespoon of […] noyeau, added to a pint of boiled custard instead of brandy […] makes an exceedingly agreeable and delicate flavour.’ (Mrs. Beeton’s Dictionary of Every-day Cookery, 1865, p. 217)
Noyaux For Immediate Use
‘Gather a quarter of a pound of young peach leaves on a dry, sunny day. Put them into a jar, and pour over them two pints of good brandy or whisky, and leave them to infuse for a couple of days. Add a syrup made by dissolving a pound of sugar in a pint of water. Let the noyeau remain a few hours longer, then filter it carefully, and it is ready for use.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 461)
Noyaux Ice Cream
‘Sweeten half a pint of thick cream with two ounces of sugar. Add a table-spoon of strained lemon-juice and a glass of noyeau. Mix thoroughly, and freeze in the usual way.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 461)
‘Dissolve one ounce of best Russian isinglass in half a pint of water. Add one pound of loaf sugar boiled to a syrup in half a pint of water, the strained juice of a lemon, and a glass of noyeau. Strain the jelly until it is clear, pour it into a damp mould, and put it into a cool place to set. Turn it out on a glass dish just before it is wanted.’ (Cassell’s Dictionary Of Cookery, 1892, p. 461)
Historical Recipes With Peach Kernels Or Leaves
‘Take ripe juicy free-stone peaches, pare them, and cut them into small pieces; of course leave out the stones, half of which must be cracked, and the kernels blanched and mixed with the peaches. Mix in a sufficient quantity of sugar to make them very sweet, and set the peaches away till the sugar draws out the juice. Then stew them (without water) till quite soft. Take them out, mash them with the back of a spoon, and set them away to cool.
Have ready some shell of fine puff-paste, baked of a light brown. When cool, put the peaches into the shells; having first mixed the stewed fruit with some cream. Grate white sugar over them.
You may substitute for the kernels a handful of fresh peach-leaves, stewed with the fruit and then taken out. The kernels or leaves will greatly improve the flavour of the peaches. Peach-leaves may be kept fresh in water for two or three days.’ (Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, 1836, p. 18)
- 1 qt milk
- 8 eggs or 16 egg yolks
- 1/4 lb. sugar
- 1 handful of peach leaves, or 1/2 oz peach kernels, broken in pieces
‘Boil the peach-leaves or kernels in the milk, and set it away to cool. When cold, strain out the leaves or kernels, and stir in the sugar. Beat the eggs very light, and stir them gradually into the milk when it is quite cold. Bake it in cups, or in a large white dish. When cool, grate nutmeg over the top.’ (Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, 1836, p. 34)
French Almond Cake
- 6 oz almonds, blanched
- 3 oz peach kernels
- 3 oz flour
- 14 eggs
- 1 lb. sugar
- 12 drops essence of lemon
Pound the almonds, ‘one at a time, in a mortar, till they are perfectly smooth.’ Mix the almonds and apricot kernels together. ‘While pounding the almonds, pour in occasionally a little rose-water.’ Separate the eggs. ‘Beat the whites till they stand alone, and then the yolks till they are very thick. Put the sugar, gradually, to the yolks, beating it in very hard. Then put in the essence of lemon. Next, beat in, gradually, the whites of the eggs, continuing to beat for some time after they are all in. Lastly, stir in the flour, as slowly and lightly as possible.
Butter a large tin mould or pan. Put the cake in, and bake it in a very quick oven an hour or more according to its thickness. When done, set it on a sieve to cool. Ice it, and ornament it with nonpareils. These almond cakes are generally baked in a turban-shaped mould, and the nonpareils put on in spots or sprigs. This cake eats best the day it is baked.’ (Seventy-five Receipts for Pastry, Cakes and Sweetmeats, 1836, p. 55)
‘Take a peck of cling-stone peaches; such as come late in the season, and are very juicy. Pare them, and cut them from the stones. Crack about half the stones and save the kernels. Leave the remainder of the stones whole, and mix them with the cut peaches; add also the kernels.
Put the whole into a wide-mouthed demi-john, and pour on them two gallons of double-rectified whisky. Add three pounds of rock-sugar candy. Cork it tightly, and set it away for three months: then bottle it, and it will be fit for use. It will be improved in clearness by covering the bottom of a sieve with blotting-paper (secured with pins) and straining the cordial through it.’ (The Cook’s Own Book, 1854, p. 37)
- 1 qt cream
- 1/4 lb sugar
- 1/2 pint white wine
- 1/2 gill brandy
- 8 maccaroons or more if you choose
- 4 small sponge cakes or Naples biscuit
- 2 oz blanched almonds, pounded with a little rosewater
- 1 oz blanched peach kernels, pounded
- juice and grated peel of 2 lemons
- grated nutmeg
- 1 glass of noyaux
- 1 pint of rich baked custard, made of the yolks of eggs
‘Break the sponge cake and maccaroons into small pieces, mix them with the almonds, and lay them in the bottom of a large glass bowl. Grate a nutmeg over them, and the juice and peel of the lemons. Add the wine and brandy, and let the mixture remain untouched, till the cakes are dissolved in the liquor. Then stir it a little.
Mix the cream and sugar with a glass of noyau, and beat it with a whisk or rods, till it stands alone. […] When the custard is cold, pour it into the glass bowl upon the dissolved cakes, &c. and when the cream is ready, fill up the bowl with it, heaping it high in the middle. You may ornament it with nonpareils. If you choose, you can put in, between the custard and the frothed cream, a layer of fruit jelly, or small fruit preserved.’ (The Cook’s Own Book, 1854, p. 14)
‘Take of cold soft water, eighteen gallons; refined sugar, twenty-five pounds; honey, six pounds; white tartar, in fine powder, two ounces; peaches, sixty or eighty in number: ferment; then add two gallons of brandy. This will make eighteen gallons. The first division is to be put into the vat; and the day after, before the peaches are put in, take the stones from them, break them and the kernels; then put them and the pulp into the vat, and proceed with the general process.’ (The Female’s Friend Snd General Domestic Adviser, 1837, p. 612)
Peach Water Ice
’10 ripe peaches, sliced without peeling, boiled soft with half a pint of water, and rubbed through a strainer; 1 pint of syrup, the juice of a lemon, 3 drops of essence of kernels, and a pinch of carmine. Mix and freeze the composition as usual.’ (The Art of Confectionery, 1865, p. 260)
Peach Paste Drops
‘1 lb. of thick peach or nectarine pulp, 1 lb. of bruised sugar, a few drops of essence of kernels, and a few drops essence of prepared cochineal.’ Stir all together ‘in a copper sugar-boiler or preserving pan over a brisk fire, until the paste becomes sufficiently reduced to show the bottom of the pan as you draw the spoon across it; then proceed to lay out the drops about the size of a florin, using a spouted sugar-boiler for the purpose.
The drops should then be placed in the screen (very moderate heat) to dry for about an hour or so. When the drops are dried, use a thin knife to remove them from the tin sheet on which they have been laid out; and put them away between sheets of paper in closed boxes, to be kept in a dry place. (The Art of Confectionery, 1865, p. 110)
‘Peaches and nectarines in equal quantities are to be bruised, the stones broken, and the kernels blanched and bruised. They are then to be put into a jar in layers, one of fruit, one of kernels, and one of pounded loaf sugar, and so on until the jar is full. As much brandy, gin, or whiskey is then to be added as the jar will hold, and when it has stood for five or six months it is to be filtered and bottled for use.’ (The Household Encyclopedia, 1859, p. 256)
Historical Recipes With Cherry Pits
‘To every pound of fruit, weighed before stoning allow three-quarters of a pound of powdered sugar and half a pint of water. Stone the cherries, and place in a preserving-pan, with the sugar and half a pint of water. Boil for three-quarters of an hour, stirring gently. Have about the kernels ready, and throw them in at the last moment. Give one stir, and pour it into pots to cool.’ (The Peterson Magazine, 1876, p. 81)
‘This cordial is much improved by adding the cherry kernels, which give the liquor that peculiar bouquet so much admired. Take six pounds of black and morella cherries; stone half the quantity, and prick the remainder. Throw the whole into a deep jar, adding the kernels of the half, slightly bruised, and two pounds of white sugar-candy- Pour over two quarts of brandy, cover the jar closely with a bladder, and let it stand for a month, shaking it frequently; then filter the liquor, and bottle it.’ (The Peterson Magazine, 1876, p. 81)
Cherry Ice Cream
‘Stone two pounds of ripe cherries; bruise, and set them on the fire, with a little water and half a pound of sugar. When they have boiled, pass them through a hair sieve into an earthen pan. Pound a handful of the kernels; put them in a basin, with the juice of two lemons; add to the cherries one pound of sugar, and strain on them the lemon-juice and kernels. Mix the whole together, and put into a sorbetiere with pounded ice. Work the cherries up with it well, until it is set; then place it in glasses.’ (The Peterson Magazine, 1876, p. 445)
‘Remove the stones and stalks from two pounds of dark-red, fleshy cherries, and put the cherries into a basin. Pound the kernels, and squeeze the juice of four lemons through a tammy. Mash the cherries with a wooden spoon, adding half a pot of currant-jelly, then the kernels, and lastly, the lemon-juice, and mix all well together. Boil and skim a pint of thick, clarified sugar and isinglass. Put the cherries into a jelly-bag, pour the sugar and isinglass over them, and run through till quite clear. Add more sugar, if not sweet enough, or more lemon-juice, if acid be required. Wet the mould, place it in ice, and fill it with the jelly, not turning it out until the last moment.’ (The Peterson Magazine, 1876, p. 445)
‘Take a peck of morella cherries, and a peck of black hearts. Stone the morellas and crack the stones. Put all the cherries and the cracked stones into a demi-john, with three pounds of loaf-sugar slightly pounded or beaten. Pour in two gallons of double-rectified whisky. Cork the demi-john, and in six months the cherry-bounce will be fit fo pour off and bottle for use; but the older it is, the better.’ (The Cook’s Own Book, 1854, p. 37)
Ratafia Without Sugar Or Syrup
‘Press the juice from some cherries into a pan, and leave it a quarter of an hour; then put it into a large bottle, with the kernels, and also some apricot kernels. To this add, if you wish the ratafia a deep colour, the juice of 2 lbs. or 3 lbs. of black cherries; put to your juice half or a third of its quantity of the best brandy; then bottle it, and when the fermentation has ceased cork the bottles. If the air is excluded this ratafia will keep for many years.’ (The Household Encyclopedia, 1859, p. 388)
12 thoughts on “30 Historical Recipes With Apricot Kernels, Peach Kernels & Cherry Pits”
As a kid when my grandmother made apricot jam my job was to get the pits ready to dry and later on we’d sit together in the yard and crack them open (I loved using a rock:). Such fond memories. Love this post and all the recipes. Pinned.
Thanks so much, Milena! 🙂
Love historical recipes and these look like it would be fun to recreate. Found you on Blogger’s Pit Stop Link Party
Thanks, Candy! 🙂
You’ve certainly provided a number of historical ways to use apricot and peach kernels and cherry pits. Thanks for sharing with Fiesta Friday…
Thanks for stopping by!
I didn’t know you could eat the pits! Thanks for sharing at the What’s for Dinner party! Have a wonderful week and hope to see you at next week’s party too!
Thanks, Helen! Have a wonderful week too!
This is so interesting! Who would have thought there would be so many ways to use the kernels/pits of these fruits!!!
Thanks, Loni! 🙂
What a great list of recipes! Will be checking these out.
Thank you, Felicity!