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Friday, December 10, 2010

vanilla bean pastry cream.

Behold... the humble vanilla.

There is no such thing as a vanilla-holic. Only chocoholic. Why? I think vanilla is just as wonderful as chocolate, maybe even better. Okay, definitely and infinitely better. Not even a bittersweet chocolate molten lava cake can excite me as much as the prospect of vanilla beans. Not even close. I'm terribly sorry to all chocolate fans out there- don't come after me with a chopper!
To me, a vanilla bean pastry cream would be a cocoa-bean-lover's equivalent of an excellent chocolate mousse- creamy, dreamy and makes me want to spoon the entire batch into my mouth. But I shall practice self-restraint because it's going to be a part of something bigger and better.

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream


1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 large egg yolks
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 vanilla bean or 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Put the milk, 1/4 cup sugar, salt, egg yolks, and cornstarch in a 2-quart saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape seeds into pan, and toss in the pod. Stir with wire whisk, bring to the boil, whisking constantly, and let the pastry cream boil for one minute. Remove from heat, scrape pastry cream into a strainer set over a bowl. Push the cream through the strainer and discard the vanilla bean. Cover with plastic wrap and a layer of ice cubes. Leave ice cubes in place until the cream cools.

P.S Don't discard the vanilla bean! Wash it and dry it in a low 150C oven until, well, dry, and jar it with some sugar to make vanilla sugar. It's too good to waste!

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