Thursday, June 6, 2013

Tonka beans

Forbidden 'fruit'
Another good thing about not living in the States is my seemingly easy access to certain products banned by the FDA.  Tonka beans, formerly used in the USA in making the cream soda of yore before being replaced with a synthetic in 1954, have not left the spice racks of Europe and I'm all the better for it, culinary-wise.  I guess if taken in HUGE quantities, coumarin, a chemical found within the bean known to cause medical complications in lab rats, could be harmful to humans.  I shouldn't think that a bit of shavings from one lowly bean into, say, whipped cream or a fruit pie would do much harm, so I am game to use them.  Anyone have a cookbook pre-mid 20th century they would like to lend me?  I am sure that the desserts section would be awash in tonka-infused treats.

Oh, heck, who am I kidding?  I don't need someone's grandma's old cookbook when I have the internet at my beck and call.  Yippie!

Take at gander at this:
Ori's Dessert Bar  Ori, a marvelous-sounding chef at whose dessert table I would like to sit, offers up a luscious-sounding Tonka Bean mousse, and, as if that weren't enough, a ganache.  *sigh*  Read it and weep with tears of joy.

So I bought the beans yesterday and have already put a few into a jar of sugar.  I expect that by the end of the week the sugar will smell faintly of vanilla, cherry and almond.  I may make a simple syrup with it in order to mix it with mineral water for an interesting take on Italian soda.  I could also use instead the Tonka sugar when a baking recipe calls for granulated sugar.  Imagine chocolate chip cookies with a little extra umpf!

Dig this:
Brandy Alexander
30 ml cognac
30 ml creme de cacao dark
30 ml cream
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass and grate Tonka bean instead of nutmeg on top.

With Brandy Alexander in hand, let's all party like it's pre-1954.  Yowza!

1 comment:

  1. I smell it in my throat already. (Yes, smell in my throat...) The cream soda smell is so heavenly!


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