Vanilla is one of the most expensive spices available – saffron takes the prize for the most pricey. Its high cost is due to the intense labour needed to produce each bean. The pods hold the seed of the vanilla orchid and each flower must be pollinated individually. Once harvested, the pods are dried and sweated before being used in perfume making and aromatherapy as well as the culinary world. Vanilla bean paste has a more concentrated vanilla flavour. Making your own homemade vanilla bean paste is a simple, easy and effortless process that can save you money and give you the best quality of bean paste for all your baking needs. Add it to your baked good when you want to enhance the flavour of vanilla.
I’m so lucky to have access to fresh vanilla from India which I bring back with each time. But you can buy vanilla pods in bulk from various different retail and online stores too.
Vanilla is a baker’s best friend. Its beautiful rounded flavour brings out sweetness and caramel notes in its accompanying ingredients making it an excellent addition to cakes, custard, ice cream and patisserie. Its use in European cooking is synonymous with sweet dishes but in much of the world it is considered a savoury spice. For something a little different, try pairing with the wonderful sweet savouriness of lobster.
Credit: This recipe has been re-blogged from Australian sisters, Tracey and Joanne, a.k.a. Sistermixin now under their ‘Additive Free Lifestyle’ website. It’s been one of their most popular recipes and I’ve personally been making it for years. I’ve just made them again in time for gifting as Christmas presents.