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Best use of very good vanilla beans?

Liana Krissoff Jul 14, 2006 12:32 PM

I absolutely love vanilla, but I just can't decide what to make with the fancy beans I splurged on a while back—I want to make everything. Any ideas for the best way to use them (I have two, so obviously I could make lots of stuff)? Besides pudding or crème brûlée. It doesn't have to be a dessert or sweet, either. Thanks in advance!

  1. Davwud Jul 14, 2006 12:52 PM

    If you have the equipment, a vanilla bean ice cream is a wonderful thing.


    3 Replies
    1. re: Davwud
      Liana Krissoff Jul 14, 2006 03:40 PM

      Yes, well, I'll probably have to go ahead and buy an ice-cream maker. It's about time I did it, and this is as good an excuse as any. (These vanilla beans just keep getting more expensive!)

      1. re: Liana Krissoff
        Davwud Jul 14, 2006 03:58 PM

        Atta girl.


        1. re: allinav
          Liana Krissoff Jul 28, 2006 05:33 PM

          I got these Madagascar ones at Kalustyan's on Lexington Ave. in New York, but the prices on the site you mention look even better. Thanks for the tip! Kalustyan's, by the way, has a great website: www.kalustyans.com.

      2. Mandymac Jul 14, 2006 12:53 PM

        Put it in yogurt, or make your own ice cream? You can stretch out the value of the vanilla beans by planting half of one in a jar of sugar (just submerge the cut end in the sugar). This has the dual purpose of keeping half a vanilla bean from drying out, and imparting a lovely flavor to the sugar.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Mandymac
          Davwud Jul 14, 2006 12:57 PM

          You can also add your "Spent" vanilla bean to your sugar. I made creme brule a few months back and did it with the leftover beans. I have very fragrant sugar now.


          1. re: Mandymac
            Diana Jul 14, 2006 04:32 PM

            It also keeps the sugar from getting all clumpy should moisture somehow get in.

          2. Katie Nell Jul 14, 2006 03:46 PM

            A vanilla bean cheesecake would be good! (I think Martha has a recipe that I've used before.)

            1. BobB Jul 14, 2006 05:09 PM

              Panna cotta's what I use them for. Rich, unctuous, and wonderful either alone or topped with the traditional red fruit sauce.

              1. d
                dippedberry Jul 14, 2006 05:59 PM

                I recently made these two items and they turned out great:
                I have people begging at my feet over the banana cream pie.

                Also, if you have Tahitian beans:

                Once you've used them, don't throw away the skins. Put them in your sugar jar for fragrant vanilla sugar.

                5 Replies
                1. re: dippedberry
                  Katie Nell Jul 14, 2006 06:02 PM

                  That's really interesting that the crust for the banana cream pie has mashed bananas in it... I've never seen that!

                  1. re: Katie Nell
                    dippedberry Jul 14, 2006 06:04 PM

                    That's the kicker. It turns out tasting like crunchy banana bread. The recipe is also really really easy. Only 15 minutes of baking (for the crust) and 30 minutes at the stovetop for the custard. Definitely make the crust (instead of using store bought). People who taste this pie think I'm a genius.

                    1. re: dippedberry
                      Dommy Jul 14, 2006 06:14 PM

                      Thank you! I can't wait to do that pie! YUM!! :)


                  2. re: dippedberry
                    Dommy Aug 8, 2006 12:14 AM

                    Thanks again for posting the recipe Dippedberry! I made the pie last week (Using Mexican Vanilla Beans from Penzeys) and it was a hit! My only snag was that the crust seemed to melt into the pan because I think I used stale graham Crackers. But still, it all came together wonderfully and tasted GREAT! :)

                    I made it look like a tart with sliced bananas on top (Covering it up TIGHTLY in plastic wrap while it rested. There was VERY little browning after a day in the fridge! :)) and SO's co-workers LOVED it and have even threatened to move in with us... LOL!

                    Anyway, here's a picture of my Banana Cream Pie:



                    1. re: Dommy
                      dippedberry Aug 8, 2006 02:09 AM

                      Wow, that looks great, Dommy! I'm always amazed at the gushing reactions I get with that pie considering how little effort it actually takes. Hope it enters your regular repetoire as it has entered mine.

                  3. ipsedixit Jul 14, 2006 09:14 PM

                    Either in mojito or in soju.

                    1. p
                      PicklingJessica Aug 9, 2006 07:33 PM

                      Vanilla custard and once you've cooked the custard, rinse the pods and stick them in sugar to make the best ever vanilla sugar.

                      1. l
                        laguera Aug 9, 2006 08:56 PM

                        I have a recipe for head-on shrimp that you cook with a whole vanilla bean. melt a few Tbsp. of butter, throw a few sprigs of thyme, a couple allspice berries, a clove, (maybe a bay leaf??) and a bit of sugar (couple teaspoons, I think), into the foaming butter. Cook for a minute and add shrimp, which you have already salted. This is really delicious and fast. It is super messy, but fun to eat.

                        Vanilla is good with most crustaceans. I had lobster once at Bouley I think that had vanilla in the sauce.

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