Vanilla Bean Paste
The vanilla bean paste is for those who have no patience. It is quick to make and can be used immediately. If the smell in my kitchen was anything to go by even before it was finished would have been good.
Simply take about 12 vanilla beans, (a lot, I know but his will make enough for a year at least.
Cut the beans in to pieces of about 2cm.
Weigh out 500g of sugar and mix the beans with the sugar. Put the whole lot into the bowl of a blender and blend until all of the beans and sugar are reduced to a fine powder. You will need to have the sugar in with the beans or it will not work. Trust me don't bother to try it.
Next I sieved the whole lot to separate it out into the sugar with the vanilla seeds and the chopped up beans. Now this is where reality and desire become confused. What I should have done at this point is added the sieved vanilla and sugar to the water and proceeded from there. Did I do this? Not really. I actually changed my mind and threw the lot into the pot with the water. I boiled it up and when it came to the boil I sieved it again.
Then I boiled it up until the mixture became syrupy.
Bottle and it can be used straight away.
Now, I'm not too sure whether this is the best way, but it certainly gets a very dark paste.
Vanilla extract is another matter alltogether. This time I used very strong alcohol. A flavourless Vodka is good. No need to buy anything good as it is really only a carrier for the vanilla flavour.
It is simplicity to make as all that you have to do is cut 4 vanill beans in half put them in a jar with 200 - 250 ml of vodka. Put on the top and wait, and wait, and wait.
It will be about 6 months before the extract is ready to use.
My suggestion is to do both the paste and the extract. use one straight way and the other when the first is finished.