Vanilla is a rare and inestimable ingredient. Now that you know everything about how it is produced, we want to take how you work with vanilla a step further by sharing our observations and tips, so that you can bring a well-balanced and enlightened approach to vanilla’s uses in your recipes.
|Vanillin is a natural aromatic chemical compound that develops in the bean. It is not the only aromatic component – hundreds of others are produced throughout the bean preparation stages, giving vanilla all its aromatic complexity. But Vanilin is the most important and characteristic of the various components that make up vanilla’s natural flavor. It accounts for 2% of the bean’s weight. So the level of Vanilin is key for excellent-quality vanilla. But it is not the only characteristic to consider when you choose vanilla. The moisture content and the color are two other indicators of good-quality.
If you want to make sure that you’re looking at the best quality product, all you need to do is trust your senses.
Vanilla from Madagascar and from Tahiti have different aromatic profiles that you can find above, so you can choose the right one for your recipe.
If you choose Vanilla from Madagascar, make sure it is a Bourbon vanilla. The “Bourbon vanilla” label was created in 1964 to identify vanilla produced from vanilla planifolia plants in the Indian Ocean as opposed to vanilla produced elsewhere, it indicates that the beans have been prepared in the traditional way.
Tahitian vanilla is much sought after by pastry chefs but very rare (less than 10% of the world’s vanilla). Vanilla x tahitensis has a thinner stem and leaves. Tahitian vanilla is bursting with an aromatic bouquet made up of over 200 molecules. Its oily, aroma-rich beans offer intense aniseed and floral notes with a hint of almond, tonka bean and balsamic vinegar.
TWO MAIN WAYS OF COOKING WITH VANILLA
You can infuse vanilla beans in milk or cream, because fat particles hold onto flavors. For instance, cream is better at taking on a vanilla flavor than milk when we use the same weight of bean and infuse it for the same length of time. Sugar is also capable of taking on aromatic notes.
You can infuse it hot or cold. The vanilla aromas will come out in different ways, depending on the kind of infusion you choose:
You can use two different techniques for infusing vanilla, whether for hot or cold infusions.
In both cases, on a general manner we recommend using 8g of beans for 1L of liquid but, of course, you can adapt it to your taste and recipe.
The “CLASSIC” INFUSION consist in splitting and scrapping the beans to extract the seeds. The harder you scrape, the more pulp you will get in the preparation. Its tangy ﬂavor can very interesting but that will change the look.
Steps: Scrape the vanilla beans and incorporate them in the milk or cream as soon as you start making your recipe. Heat at 175°F (80°C) for 20min. Sift the liquid to remove any pieces of the bean.
The ALTERNATIVE INFUSION consists in cutting the beans into pieces, then blending them with milk or cream for stronger aromatic quality. The results have a very high seed content, as well as very intense woody aromas. Aromatically, it is a complex blend of vanilla seed and woody casing.
Steps: Cut up the beans but don’t scrape them and incorporate them into the milk or cream base. Heat at 175°F (80°C) for 20min. Blend the beans once they have infused. Strain.
WHAT TO DO WITH YOUR BEANS AFTER INFUSING THEM ?
Please don't throw them away!
- You can add your beans to syrup, oil or rum as a flavoring. - You can dry them and turn them into a powder (leave them in the oven at 195°F or 90°C before grinding). You can also use the powder to make a vanilla-flavored sugar.
|Vanilla paste has several advantages: it saves you time, it avoids waste & it provides intense woody flavor.
Here are some hints and tips for making your own vanilla paste:
Freeze the whole vanilla beans.
We recommend storing it at 40°F (4°C) or -1°F (-18°C), depending on how often you use it.