Ah, you flavor everything; you are the vanilla of society”
Aran, a professional pastry chef, is a Basque ex-pat living in the US. She blogs at Cannelle Et Vanille, her blank canvas for creating anything and everything sweet that comes out of her heart. Her beautiful blog reflects the smells and tastes of her childhood.
She is available for recipe development, food styling and photography.Press regarding her blog includes The UK Times Online, Cravings Magazine, BBC’s Olive Magazine, Southern Weddings Magazine, Pastry & Baking Magazine, Saveur.com, Design*Sponge, RealSimple.com, Decor*8 and many other blogs.
1. Your first thoughts when I say ‘vanilla bean’ are…
Warmth, childhood, grandparents
2. Do you find vanilla beans indispensable in your kitchen as a baking ingredient?
Yes, I use it in most of my recipes whether it is as a main ingredient or to enhance a recipe.
3. Do you always have vanilla beans on hand?
Yes, I always buy in bulk as they are cheaper this way and store them tightly wrapped in an airtight container.
4. In a month, how many vanilla beans would you use on an average?
Because they are so expensive, I really stretch the use of my beans. I might go through 10 beans a month (that I always reuse in other forms) and 4 oz of vanilla extract.
5. Do you have a favourite variety of the vanilla bean?
There are many varieties now but Bourbon is still the most readily available and what I tend to use most. Tahitian has a floral note and a bit of a less sweeter aroma, which I really like. I recently tried some African varieties that were excellent as well.
6. What in your opinion is the best way to showcase the flavor of the vanilla bean?
If I am using vanilla bean, I like that to be the main flavor component of the recipe. It really doesn’t need much, just a little steeping or incorporated into a cream is perfection in itself. Also, I think a tiny pinch of salt always enhances the flavor of the vanilla.
7. Have you heard of or used savoury vanilla extract or saffron vanilla extract?
Yes and I actually just recently used vanilla fleur de del in a recipes in my blog (http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/2009/08/vanilla-fleur-de-sel-caramel-and.html). I have heard of saffron vanilla but have never used it myself. Will have to try that soon.
8. What is your favourite recipe using this flavourful bean?
So many… but maybe because we are entering autumn season, the roasted apple and vanilla bean souffle is one of my favorites…(http://cannelle-vanille.blogspot.com/2008/10/roasted-apple-and-vanilla-bean-souffle.html)
♥ Thank you Aran ♥
1. Your first thoughts when I say ‘vanilla bean’ are…
Adapted from this recipe at Nordljus
300g Mascarpone (homemade recipe here)
125g vanilla castor sugar
1 vanilla bean
200ml low fat cream, chilled
125g thick plain yogurt
Chill the bowl and blade of a food processor in the refrigerator.
To make the cream hearts, blend the mascarpone, seeds of 1 vanilla bean and vanilla castor sugar in the food processor until smooth. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a plastic spatula occasionally to keep the mixture evenly distributed. Add the cream and yogurt and blend briefly to incorporate.
Line 6 porcelain heart moulds with a double layer of wet muslin and carefully spoon in the cream mixture until the moulds are full and the surface is even. Put the moulds on a tray with a lip (to catch the whey – important), then cover with plastic film and refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving.
To serve, lift the cream hearts out of their moulds using the muslin, then invert each heart onto the berries and carefully remove the muslin. Arrange figs and orange segments around, and spoon the compote over the cream heart.
Orange & Dried Fig Compote
10-15 dried figs, snipped with kitchen scissors
Zest of 1 orange
Juice of 1 orange
Slices of 1 orange, pith etc removed, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
Some extra figs and orange segments for serving, optional Method:
Simmer everything gently for 10-15 minutes, till soft & syrupy. The syrup will thicken as the compote cools. Cool before use.
Tel – +91 484 5599233, Cell +91 9349 256746
I found that this sentiment echoes across the sector. John.P. John, CEO of Tharakan & Company, another major vanilla bean producer in India since 2000, said the same thing.
Thakaran and Company market their product under the brand name ‘Nature’s Nurture’, and are willing to courier their products to domestic consumers. They are manufacturers of finished good from vanilla beans, apart from being a supplier of the bean. They claim to be the only manufacturer of Natural Vanilla Extract with Cold process technology, which gives both aroma and taste of vanilla.They also manufacture Pure Natural Vanilla Powder, Natural vanilla Paste, Vanilla seeds etc, supplying vanilla beans in transparent tubes and vacuum pouches to the domestic market. They also offer it worldwide.In his words… Most vanilla beans under production either head for export are are used for vanilla extract. Per se, the vanilla bean is still struggling to find demand in the local market.
Tharakan & Company,
Ph +91 481 2516619/ +91 481 2516119
Cell +91 94470 37383
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