Whole apricots sit on a white plate

Chef Jürgen’s Hack for Pitting Stone Fruit

Pro tip: keep a wooden spoon at the ready.

Whether it's cherries, plums, peaches or apricots, juicy stone fruits are all the rage in the hot summer months. Chef Jürgen David, ICE New York’s Director of Pastry Research & Development, has a fondness of apricots specifically, as he was exposed to an abundance of apricot bounty growing up in Vienna, Austria.

“To me it’s the ultimate Austrian fruit,” he says, noting that the Wachau Valley is well known for its production of apricots and grapes thanks to its tropical climate. (The Wachau Valley is also well known for producing some complex and delicious white wines, that often offer notes of — you guessed it — apricots.)

More from Chef Jürgen: A Pastry Chef's Guide to Working with Flowers >

Chef Jürgen also has a handy hack for pitting apricots — or any stone fruit, for that matter — and it's simple: grab your favorite wooden spoon or spatula, take the end and stick it through the stem and push the pit through it.

“My grandmother did that,” he says, recalling that he even had his own special wooden spoon of choice. “It was broken, and instead of throwing it out, I used it to remove pits from stone fruits.”

Once the apricots are pitted, Chef Jürgen often uses them to make his traditional Austrian obstfleck cake, especially during the summer months.

Both the cake recipe and the broken spoon are pieces of home that he carries with him through his culinary career - literally. His broken wooden spoon still lives in his tool kit, and he uses it for all stone fruits including apricots, plums, nectarines and peaches.

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