Worshipped by Pastry Chefs ~ Vanilla

Originally thought only to be grown in Mexico due a combination of climate, eco-system & the bees required for pollination, vanilla is now widely available globally. This is due to a 12 year old slave boy called Edmond Albius from the former French colony of Reunion, who discovered that the Vanilla orchid could be hand pollinated. With the Spanish coloniser  Hernán Cortés being thought of as responsible for bringing Vanilla and Chocolate to Europe, its use in patisserie is now prevalent.

The cost of Vanilla is such that it’s 2nd only to Saffron in the cost stakes due to the hand pollination techniques, with a kilo of gourmet vanilla pods costing £125+VAT from MSK.

And so on to the recipes.

Alain Ducasse’s Vanilla Ice Cream

1L Full fat Milk

50g Milk Powder

100ml Double cream

75g Liquid Glucose

240g Sugar

8g Stabiliser

160g Egg yolks

64g Butter

2 Vanilla pods, split

Cream the Eggs & Sugar. Heat the Milk, Cream, Milk powder, Vanilla, Stabiliser & Butter.

Make a creme anglaise base as per usual, cooking to 82C. Pass & add the glucose before chilling then churning.

Classic Vanilla Panna Cotta

This recipe is based on a Claude Bosi recipe which was featured in the Caterer many moons ago. I have mildly changed the recipe, but the flavour & texture are stunning.

Yield = 20 @ 50ml moulds or 13 @ 75ml

 2 Lemons, zest only                                                    500ml Double cream

500ml Semi skimmed milk                                      Vanilla pods to taste

3 ½ Leaves of gelatine                                               50g Icing sugar

Boil the milk and the cream, add the vanilla and lemon zest. Remove from the heat, whisk in icing sugar and infuse for 3 hours . Strain and heat enough to dissolve gelatine. Chill and stir until the Vanilla seeds are equally distributed. Pour into moulds.

For the final recipe, it is a dressing from the legendary Charlie Trotter restaurant in Chicago.

Vanilla & Black Pepper Dressing

30ml Fresh Lemon juice

30ml Fresh Orange juice

90ml Rice wine vinegar

1 Vanilla pod, split

500ml Grapeseed oil

250ml Extra virgin olive oil

3 Tsp ground black pepper

Combine the Vinegar, Orange & Lemon juice, bring to the boil, skim and remove from the heat. Add the Vanilla & freshly ground Black Pepper, infuse for an hour. Remove the Vanilla pod (leaving behind the seeds) and whisk in the two oils. Use within a day to retain the freshness of the spices.


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