Sometimes we go too far, then we slip over the edge, falling or flying: such are the adventures of the home cook. Daily and weekly, I am obsessed with how to make things at home, sometimes I succeed, and sometimes I fail and rather spectacularly too but I never let that stop me, guilty as I feel for my the waste bin which in some cases is my stomach! This occasion however is a tale of success, from start to finish (well, save for the disastrous accompanying meringue pies, which just didn’t work) for in the end, I made my own vanilla powder! I skipped and hopped in excitement when I made this discovery and smiled with a deep, deep sense of satisfaction and achievement. If it were you, would you do differently when confronted with the pure, dark, aromatic bouquet of vanilla flavours? And all a complete chance happening. Why do I love homemade so?
- I’ve learnt to make a thing or three – citrus dust, mascarpone
- I’m sure I’ve saved money, even if I have little to show for it
- I know what I’ve created – no preservatives, no additives, no artificial colours or flavours.
31/01/2011 – UpdateI made a batch of vanilla powder yesterday and ended up with the rich, dark rich I first saw in the jar I got from Copenhagen. This time I used fresh bourbon beans which I got a few weeks ago at Sligro. I tried to make the powder as soon as I got them but they were too moist. Microwaving one did nothing to dry it out, and so I left them out at room temperature in a jar to lose moisture and that they did. After three weeks, the pods were dry but still had gloss and shine. I blitzed them up and they ground well. The result was fresh, dark vanilla beans with nots of bourbon and visions of orchids. It appears that the secret to the colour preservation is not putting it in the microwave so I’ll be giving that one up! vanilla extract, on the contrary loses some potency when heated because the alcohol evaporates and diminishes the flavours. 3) It works well in temperamental dishes like macarons, where added moisture could be the difference between great success and spectacular failure! 4) For people who don’t consume alcohol in any manner or form (as a result of religious preferences etc), vanilla powder is perfect When I compared my version to the last of mine Copenhagen batch, I noticed a colour difference – mine was lighter in hue and a bit smoother.
- Stir some into butter, with a spoonful of maple syrup for a delicious and scented breakfast spread aka compound butter
- Add some to your next batch of curd, from lemon to orange…and even coconut milk and lime
- Sprinkle some in olive oil, along with a pinch of red chili pepper and serve as a simple dip with bread
- Of course, you can make on-the-fly vanilla sugar and salt, without waiting weeks to infuse with flavour via dried up pods
Check out my how-to which covers
– its origins
– good deals