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The family went sour cherry picking on Friday at Larriland Farm and the pitting is almost done. I noticed in our Penzeys catalog a spice called mahlab that was made out of sour cherry pits. Can we make this out of our pits? if so how? Also, is there anything else one can do with sour cherry pits?

Thanks,

Ignacio

P.S. Picking was good but the lower branches are starting to be picked over. It seems there are two types of sour cherries, a dark one I like better, and lighter one, which looks prettier, but has a slightly medicinal taste to me.

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Mahlab/mahleb is made from a certain cherry species that is probably not what you picked. Wikipedia has some information. If you want to experiment with mahleb for less $$$ then Penzey's, I've seen it at Grand Mart. It's kind of fun to use here because many Americans have never tasted it and can't place the flavor. I made some little pastries out of Baking with Julia using this spice and everyone thought it was cinnamon. No, not cinnamon, lemon? No, that's not it....

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Use some with pits!

Make clafoutis.

From Wiki:

A traditional Limousin clafoutis contains pits of the cherries.[1]. According to baking purists, the pits release a wonderful flavor when the dish is cooked. If the cherry pits are removed prior to baking, the clafoutis will be milder in flavor.

Also-I recently made a sour cherry gastrique (from Ad Hoc) with pits, then pressed the end product through a strainer.

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The Middle Eastern markets all carry mahlab. Try Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria.

My mother used to make a slightly sweet flat bread with it, called (phonetically) bup-sie bread. It's a northern Syrian treat that can be used in a variety of ways, and with a strong cup of coffee it's my all-time fave breakfast. It must be native to the Homs area of Syria.

I hesitate to share the cherished recipe, but here it is, in tribute to my mother:

5 lbs. flour

1.5 lbs. melted unsalted butter

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp ground cumin

4 tbsp ground mahlab

1.5 cups sugar

2 cups warm milk

2 cups warm water

1 oz yeast (dissolved in 1/4 warm milk with a pinch of sugar)

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Add melted butter to well and mix with hands like you're making pie crust. Make another well in the center and add the yeast-milk, the rest of the milk and at least half of the warm water. Knead like bread dough and add additional water as necessary. When the dough is smooth like bread dough, cover and let rest for an hour. Form the dough into fist-sized balls and let them rest individually for another hour, covered with a towel. After an hour, roll each ball into a half-inch thick flatbread, prick all over with a fork, and put on large cookie trays to bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot (500 deg) oven, until golden brown. Makes about 24 loaves.

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The Middle Eastern markets all carry mahlab. Try Mediterranean Bakery in Alexandria.

My mother used to make a slightly sweet flat bread with it, called (phonetically) bup-sie bread. It's a northern Syrian treat that can be used in a variety of ways, and with a strong cup of coffee it's my all-time fave breakfast. It must be native to the Homs area of Syria.

I hesitate to share the cherished recipe, but here it is, in tribute to my mother:

5 lbs. flour

1.5 lbs. melted unsalted butter

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp ground cumin

4 tbsp ground mahlab

1.5 cups sugar

2 cups warm milk

2 cups warm water

1 oz yeast (dissolved in 1/4 warm milk with a pinch of sugar)

Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl, and make a well in the center. Add melted butter to well and mix with hands like you're making pie crust. Make another well in the center and add the yeast-milk, the rest of the milk and at least half of the warm water. Knead like bread dough and add additional water as necessary. When the dough is smooth like bread dough, cover and let rest for an hour. Form the dough into fist-sized balls and let them rest individually for another hour, covered with a towel. After an hour, roll each ball into a half-inch thick flatbread, prick all over with a fork, and put on large cookie trays to bake for 10-15 minutes in a hot (500 deg) oven, until golden brown. Makes about 24 loaves.

Thanks for sharing this, this sounds interesting. I might have to try making it -- would you it it just so, or gild the lily with anything (spread on it, take it and dip it in to something, etc)?

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My mother used to make a slightly sweet flat bread with it, called (phonetically) bup-sie bread. It's a northern Syrian treat that can be used in a variety of ways, and with a strong cup of coffee it's my all-time fave breakfast. It must be native to the Homs area of Syria.

I hesitate to share the cherished recipe, but here it is, in tribute to my mother:

Wow! Thank you! I'll give this a try.

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Thanks for sharing this, this sounds interesting. I might have to try making it -- would you it it just so, or gild the lily with anything (spread on it, take it and dip it in to something, etc)?

I hate to admit this, but my kids would heat one up in the microwave and slather peanut butter on top for breakfast. I tried one once, and it was surprisingly good.

My mother would freeze these individually in freezer bags. When guests would stop by, or one of us kids got hungry, she would simply pop one or two into the microwave.

I always preferred mine plain. The perfect accompaniment is a cup of good coffee.

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I hate to admit this, but my kids would heat one up in the microwave and slather peanut butter on top for breakfast. I tried one once, and it was surprisingly good.

My mother would freeze these individually in freezer bags. When guests would stop by, or one of us kids got hungry, she would simply pop one or two into the microwave.

I always preferred mine plain. The perfect accompaniment is a cup of good coffee.

I am microwaveless by choice -- I assume I can reheat in a low temp oven for a few minutes, too? TIA

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Bread products always do better being reheated outside of a microwave.

Depends on how you do it, but yes, in an oven, possibly wrapped in foil, will do the job just fine.

In a microwave, with a dry paper towel underneath the flatbread and a damp paper towel draped over top, on medium high for 25-30 seconds, will do the trick.

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The family went sour cherry picking on Friday at Larriland Farm and the pitting is almost done. I noticed in our Penzeys catalog a spice called mahlab that was made out of sour cherry pits. Can we make this out of our pits? if so how? Also, is there anything else one can do with sour cherry pits?

I have a British cookbook at home whose author suggests cracking some of the pits and adding them to pot when making sour cherry preserves. Measure is supposed to add depth of flavor.

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