MAKES 1 CUP
Vanilla is a baking staple in Italy, where it is used to flavor cokes, cookies, pastry creams, puddings, and sweet breads. Making your own vanilla extract is both easy and economical. It begins with the vanilla bean, the seedpod of the orchid flower, and alcohol.
1 vanilla bean, coarsely chopped
1 cup brandy or dark rum
Put the vanilla bean in a clean jar and cover with the brandy or rum. Cap the jar and store in a cool, dark place for at least 6 weeks to let the flavor develop.
Strain the vanilla extract through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and into a decorative jar. Give as a gift with a recipe that uses vanilla.
This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc. in 1995.
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