Suave and exotic Vanilla brings softness to dishes. It can enrich cakes, fruit, fish, and even poultry.
Vanilla: an orchid in the kitchen
The vanilla bean comes from tropical orchids whose shape is close to the vines. For the kitchen, you will find vanilla in different forms, each with its own culinary use:
– The vanilla bean is usually packaged in a glass tube, which allows you to check its quality. It must be full, with a chocolate brown color, and measure between 15 cm and 20 cm. To use it in cooking, split the pod length-wise and collect the grains by scraping with a knife. You can also dip the split vanilla pod in hot milk, tea, or a cocktail.
– Vanilla powder is the dried and ground fruit of vanilla. It can be used pure for flavoring dishes of seafood and fish, or poultry and white meat. It can also be mixed with sugar.
– The vanilla extract is liquid or dry. It is obtained by steeping vanilla in alcohol and then by filtering or infusing in a sugar syrup. In liquid form, choose a dark color, which is a guarantee of purity because the quality of vanilla extract depends on its concentration. Use it in very small quantities for flavoring creams, desserts, and panna cotta.
– Finally, vanilla flavored sugar is sugar that contains at least 10% of vanilla. Make your own vanilla sugar
by adding a split vanilla pod into an airtight container of sugar. You’ll have vanilla sugar available to sweeten your yogurt, to sprinkle on pancakes or fritters, or to lightly flavor your cakes.
Essential in desserts
Floating island, crème brûlée, panna cotta, diverse and varied cakes, many desserts are made with vanilla; whether in the form of a clove like custard or rice pudding, or in the form of vanilla sugar in meringues, an apple pound cake, or a vanilla panna cotta with raspberry.
Are you an ice-cream amateur? Treat yourself with a delicious vanilla ice cream
in 5 minutes. To do this, all you need is almond milk, sugar, and a vanilla pod. Magic, right?
Make a vanilla flavored chocolate fondue by scraping a few grains of a vanilla bean on top of the fondue set, or by adding 1 or 2 packets of vanilla sugar. This will soften the melted, sometimes very strong, dark chocolate.
For a shortcrust or simple pastry, add 1 drop of vanilla liquid extract in the well of sifted flour before working all the dough ingredients together. This vanilla flavored paste can then be served with your apple, pear, apricot, or chocolate pies.
A spice that likes fruit
This spice enhances the delicate flavor of fruit or the sweetness of some vegetables. In apples, pears, or figs compote, remember to sprinkle some vanilla sugar when finished cooking. In summer, reduce the acid side of an apricot pie again by sprinkling vanilla sugar on mumps fruit. Apricot and vanilla mariage is also very good for jam or with cheese, for example.
Complete a special pancake meal with lemon and vanilla. In a skillet, melt a knob of salted butter. Warm up your crepe 1 minute on each side. Sprinkle the vanilla sugar and squeeze a little lemon juice before folding. A dessert both sweet and sour!
Surprisingly, vanilla goes well with some vegetables such as tomatoes and carrots. For tomatoes, try them stewed with vanilla. They can be eaten without difficulty for dessert with some biscuits.
And how about a vanilla and cherry-tomato tatin? On the bottom of a pan, put a little powdered sugar and scrape some grains of a vanilla bean split in half. Top with cherry-tomatoes, halved, peeled, and seeded. Cover with pie crust or pastry and bake according to taste. Serve as a dessert or appetizer with a rocket salad seasoned with balsamic vinegar.
A trip to the seaside
Did you know that fish and seafood go quite well with vanilla? If you are not convinced of the alliance, you can taste a sea bream tartare or a salmon carpaccio.
The holidays are approaching and you still have no ideas for your entries for Christmas Eve? Don’t panic! Offer your guests some roasted Saint-Jacques in vanilla foam.
As for poultry
Even the white meat poultry can handle the sweetness of vanilla. Revisit a classic of French cuisine by adding a touch of vanilla. Let your guests enjoy a veal stew with vanilla. They will be pleasantly surprised at the subtlety of this exotic dish.
If you are in charge of preparing the traditional Christmas turkey, take your family on a tasting journey to the islands by serving a turkey with its juice and lychees with vanilla, or a sweet and sour marbled turkey marbled.
Do you have some secret recipes using vanilla in an uncommon way? What about your own use of vanilla?
Photo by Kendiala