Wednesday, 29 July 2009

French Nut Liqueurs

France has some lovely liqueurs that are made from nuts - Crème de Noix is made from unripe, green walnuts that appear in early summer, Crème d'amande from almonds, Liqueur de Châtaigne from chestnuts and Crème de Noyaux from apricot kernels. Villagers in France still make Crème de Noix and they can be sweet or bitter depending on the family's preference. It's easy to make and if you have a walnut tree in your garden then it is a good way to use up all those walnuts!

Liqueur de Noix

2 ½ cups sugar
1 bottle vodka
2 sticks cinnamon
10 whole cloves
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
zest of one lemon
30 green walnuts; washed, dried, and quartered

Mix everything in a large jar, one that will be big enough to hold everything. Stir until the sugar is mostly dissolved, then add the walnuts. Tightly close the jar and let stand for two months, not in direct sunlight, shaking the jar every day. When it's ready to bottle, filter the liqueur through cheesecloth or a coffee filter and pour into a clean bottle. For the first few days, the steeping walnuts will take on a green hue, which is normal. After a week or so, it'll get darker and darker. Liqueur de noix will keep for years stored in a cool, dry place.

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