Vanilla beans pods are an expensive, (labour intensive) spice to harvest. Green vanilla beans require about 9 months to mature before an extensive period of curing - resulting in sweet, moist fragrant beans. To use - simply split the bean lengthways & scrape out the seeds with the back of a small knife. Add both the seeds & the pod to the liquid to be flavoured. The pods can be removed, rinsed and allowed to dry, and added to your sugar jar to make an ongoing supply of vanilla sugar.
Uses and Ideas! ©
- Use vanilla to flavour shortbread, compotes, poached fruits, sabayons, vanilla bean ice cream, and vanilla bavarois, vanilla scented mascarpone or vanilla panacotta.
- To make vanilla crème brûlée (serves 6). Whisk 8 egg yolks, 70 gms sugar and seeds of 1 vanilla bean until light and pale. Bring 800 ml pouring cream and 100 ml milk plus the scraped vanilla pod to the boil. Strain into the egg/sugar mix. Allow to cool, pour mix into ramekins. Bake in a cloth lined tray filled with 2cm of water at 100 degrees C for 80 mins. Remove, cool, (keep chilled), dust with sugar and carefully use a grill or "chefs torch" to caramelise the top. Chef’s tip - Make the mix the day before, as refrigeration overnight before baking results in an even suspension of the vanilla seeds.