How to extract the most flavor out of vanilla beans?

Max
  • How to extract the most flavor out of vanilla beans? Max

    Today I made creme brulee, which I'm not very familiar with but have done once or twice.

    The consistancy was fine, aswell as the caramelized sugar, but it had a very low taste of vanilla, even though I used 4x the amount specified in the recipe. (I used 2 whole vanilla beans for 2 cups).

    I cut, scraped and put everything in cream/sugar, heated to about 80-90c (almost a boil), mixed with the yellow of the egg(yolk?) and cooked it in a pan half-full of water.

    Is there anything I can do to facilitate more vanilla flavor? Is it somehow volatile and doesn't survive.. cooking? Maybe I should have boiled the cream with the vanilla? Make extract using high-strength alcohol first? Buy better vanilla?

  • Getting the Vanilla from the bean to the taste bud takes time. While many will advocate the use of fresh vanilla beans (as you have tried), I have always preferred the flavor that is granted from a good vanilla extract. In my opinion it is stronger and better distributed throughout the dish. Whether you buy or make your own extract I think you will get a more consistent and rich flavor that way.

    (note: thanks to @rfusca for providing the extract link in a previous question)

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