One way of getting the most out of a vanilla bean is to use it to create a homemade vanilla paste. While this may sound tricky it’s actually rather straightforward.
What you’ll need
- Grade A vanilla beans (approximately 225 grams, or 50 individual beans)
- Caster sugar (750 grams)
- Water (750 ml)
- Medium saucepan
- Empty clean glass bottle (1 liter)
- Sharp knife
- Measure your sugar into the saucepan.
- Add the water to the sugar.
- Use a sharp knife to split each individual vanilla bean down the middle.
- Scrape the interior seeds from the vanilla bean (also referred to as the pod or husk) using the end of a knife or a small spoon.
- Add the seeds of the vanilla bean to the sugar and water mixture.
- Add the remaining vanilla bean husks into small to the mixture.
- Heat the pan using your hob until the mixture starts to resemble syrup, or even oil. Remember to stir the mixture.
- Bring to the boil for five minutes. The mixture should start to resemble a thicker vanilla paste.
- Allow the mixture to cool for 5 minutes before removing the vanilla bean husks and place in a separate bowl.
- Allow the mixture to cool for a further 20-30 minutes.
- Using a funnel pour the contents into your empty glass bottle. Be sure to scrape any rogue seeds from the pan and place in the bottle.
- Add the chopped vanilla husks to the bottle containing your vanilla paste mix.
- Place a lid on the bottle tightly and gently shake the mixture.
- Place the bottle in a dark place (kitchen cabinets are fine) and leave for at least two month. Remember, the longer you leave it, the more potent the flavor.
Now you have a bottle of vanilla paste that you can use anytime. It can be topped up later down the line, and each individual vanilla bean husk can be removed and used in other recipes.