Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Vanilla Sunday

Vanilla Sunday is a delicious little event at the Atlanta Botanical Garden celebrating the amazing vanilla orchid. On March 18, visitors indulged in vanilla sundaes, tea samples, chair massages, and cooking demonstrations. The unusually warm weather allowed us to use the Edible Garden Outdoor Kitchen to showcase Chef Jennifer Etchison of Pricci. Her delectable crema catalana recipe incorporates vanilla into each of the three elements of the dessert. You may have missed Vanilla Sunday, but here are a few photos and Jenni’s recipe to make you feel better.

Crema Catalana
serves six to eight

Vanilla Custard:
1 qt. whole milk
2 vanilla beans, split
zest of one orange and one lemon
1/2 cinnamon stick
1/2 t. salt
6 egg yolks
80 g. sugar
30 g. cornstarch
2 t. vanilla extract

Combine milk, vanilla beans, zest and salt. Bring to a simmer and allow to steep for 20 minutes. In a kitchen aid, whip the egg yolks and sugar until very pale and light. Add cornstarch and whip until combined. On low speed, pour in a small portion of the hot milk to temper the mixture together. Pour this back into the pot of milk, turn the heat on low and cook until bubbly and thick, whisking constantly. Strain and add vanilla extract. Pour into molds and refrigerate at least two hours.

Almond Shortbread:
1 lb. soft unsalted butter
3/4 c. sugar
4 c. all purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 c. sliced almonds
1 vanilla bean, split

In a kitchen aid with paddle attachment, combine sugar, butter, salt, and vanilla bean. Paddle until light and smooth. Add all other ingredients and beat until just combined. Split dough into two flat discs and refrigerate until firm. Roll to 1/4 in. thick and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle tops with sugar and bake at 325° until just browned. Cool completely and store in an air tight container.

Vanilla Caramel:
1 c. sugar
1/4c. water
1/2t. salt
2 vanilla beans

Put sugar, water, and salt in a heavy bottom small saucepot and caramelize until golden. Whisk in two split vanilla beans and an additional 1/2c. plus 2 T. water. Boil for one minute and allow to cool at room temp. Keep refrigerated.

recipe by Chef Jennifer Etchison, Pricci

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