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Jul 14, 2006 12:32 PM

Best use of very good vanilla beans?

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!

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


    3 Replies
    1. re: Davwud

      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: allinav

          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:

      1. 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

          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

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

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

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

              1. 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

                  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

                    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

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


                  2. re: dippedberry

                    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

                      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.