Ever wondered how to get your house smelling like Willy Wonka’s factory? Make your own vanilla essence 🙂
In the back of the book Ottolenghi also lists some products they call “the pantry”, stuff you can make in advance and keep for a few days or up to a month. A lot of the recipes have ingredients from “the pantry” so if you want do do everything homemade like me, begin at the back 😉
For a recipe I will post later I needed vanilla essence and there was of course, no way I was just going to buy it! Vanilla essence is easy to make and as said before will leave your house smelling wonderful. I had never done it and even never used fresh or dried vanilla pods, it was just store bought vanilla sugar before this culinary adventure. The book didn’t say if you should use dry or fresh pods so I bought the larger fresh ones. They are bigger than the dry pods, pretty sticky and my bag still smells of vanilla a day later. I really don’t know what a normal price is but I paid € 3,25 a piece which is pretty expensive. The plus is you end up with about 175 ml of essence which will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
Again I must mention my now favorite supermarket Persopolis in Utrecht, they have absolutely everything! I went in yesterday and got all my ingredients for 3 recipes. Next time i’ll bring my camera and write a post about them for all you local readers 🙂
So, vanilla essence.
4 vanilla pods
500 ml water
125 grams of fine sugar
Cut the vanilla pods lengthways, remove the seeds inside and put everything into a pan. Add the water and sugar, bring to a boil and leave till there is about one third of the liquid left. Let it cool and keep it in a sealed jar or bottle. You should end up with something like this, a dark brown liquid.
As I had never done this I hope I did it right, it smells and tastes strongly of vanilla, I followed the recipe to a tee and the recipe I used the essence in was fantastic.
Vanilla essence is pretty expensive to buy so if you’re going to be needing a lot making your own can be worthwhile. As for me, anybody in the Utrecht area need any vanilla essence? Pick it up for free 🙂