Shopping cart

Your cart is currently empty

Versatile Vanilla

  • Posted on
  • By The Pastry Depot
  • Posted in Vanilla
  • 0
Versatile Vanilla

Vanilla is a pantry staple in almost every professional or home kitchen, but did you know it is available in many forms and applications for both sweet and savory production?

Vanilla is a popular flavor that is used in many desserts and baked goods. The four main forms of vanilla for culinary use are vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla paste, and vanilla powder. Each type of vanilla has its own unique characteristics and application in pastry and savory cooking. Professional or at-home, you are sure to find at least one of these in nearly every kitchen.


Vanilla beans are the whole, unprocessed pods of the vanilla orchid plant. They are long, thin, brown in color, and have a strong, sweet vanilla aroma that comes from the tiny seeds inside the pod. Vanilla beans are often used in baking and cooking because they release their flavor when heated. Vanilla beans are typically used by splitting the pod lengthwise and scraping out the seeds to add to recipes. They are also used to make homemade vanilla extract. There are three popular types of vanilla beans used in pastry: Madagascar, Tahitian, and Mexican. Madagascar vanilla beans are the most expensive, due to them needing to be hand pollinated. They are much skinnier than the Tahitian vanilla bean but have a very nice sweet and creamy flavor making them very popular for use in ice cream. Tahitian vanilla beans are very plump and have a floral smell and flavor. Mexican vanilla beans are very similar to Madagascar vanilla beans but have a slight woody, spicy aroma.


Vanilla extract is made by soaking vanilla beans of your choice in a mixture of alcohol (vodka or rum work best). The alcohol helps to extract the flavor and aroma of the vanilla beans. The resulting liquid is then aged and filtered to produce a dark brown liquid that has a strong, concentrated vanilla flavor. The process of making vanilla extract takes a few months until the flavor is deep enough to use for cooking but can be stored for years! It is commonly found as an ingredient in cakes, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, pastry creams, and more. You can also puree your vanilla extract with the leftover vanilla beans to make a thicker more paste like consistency.


Vanilla paste is a more concentrated form of vanilla extract made by combining vanilla extract with vanilla seeds and a thickening agent, such as cornstarch or xanthan gum. Vanilla paste has a similar flavor as vanilla extract, but it has a thicker consistency and contains small flecks of vanilla seeds. It can be used in baking and cooking as well as added to desserts, drinks, and sauces.


Vanilla powder is made by grinding dehydrated vanilla beans until a super fine powder is reached. This powder is excellent to incorporate into doughs or other baked goods that do not need extra moisture. It is a convenient alternative to whole vanilla beans or extract and is often used in recipes where liquid would cause an issue. It’s a great way to use vanilla beans that have dried out over time as well, leaving zero waste.


At The Pastry Depot, we offer a variety of different vanilla products from several brands: Norohy, Gahara, Lorann, and Pastry Star. Norohy is a line of organic vanilla beans and paste from Madagascar. Norhohy vanilla paste is actually seven times stronger than other vanilla pastes, making it a great value when looking to add high-quality vanilla to your products. Gahara is a line of Indonesian vanilla beans, extract, and pastes. Lorann offers both Tahitian and Madagascar vanilla extract and paste, along with a clear vanilla. Clear vanilla is not real vanilla; it is an imitation vanilla with zero color and is best to use when you do not want to have added color in your white icing, for example.


Vanilla beans, vanilla extract, vanilla paste, and vanilla powder all have their place in both sweet and savory cooking applications. All deliver delicious vanilla flavor and add depth to your creations. Which vanilla you choose is completely up to you!




Be the first to comment...

Leave a comment
* Your email address will not be published
By using our website, you agree to the use of cookies. These cookies help us understand how customers arrive at and use our site and help us make improvements. Hide this message More on cookies »