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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Strawberry Vanilla Bean Pancake Sauce


What could be better than waking up to the smell of pancakes in the morning?  For my kids, it's THE breakfast of choice!  Some people like great big pancakes, but my kids like the mini pancakes best.  I make them about the size of a silver dollar.  They've figured out that this is the ideal "dipping" size. 

This morning, I made a sweet, fragrant strawberry vanilla bean sauce for the pancakes to be dunked into.  Mmmm... warm, ooey gooey goodness to get everyone's day off to an even sweeter start!  

Print this recipe!

Ingredients:
  • 2 cups fresh strawberries, rinsed and chopped 
  • 1/3 cup sugar 
  • juice of 1/2 lemon 
  • the "seeds" (caviar) from one vanilla beans 
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cornstarch 
 
Method:  Cut up about 2 cups of fresh strawberries.   To the strawberries, add:  sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, and cornstarch.  Cook on medium until thick and bubbly.  The strawberries will release their juices, break down and mush up.  Add the cornstarch in a little slurry and cook until thick.  
 
Step-by-Step:
Cut up about 2 cups of fresh strawberries.   To the strawberries, add:  sugar, lemon juice, vanilla bean seeds, and cornstarch.  Cook on medium until thick and bubbly.  The strawberries will release their juices, break down and mush up.  Add the cornstarch in a little slurry and cook until thick. 
2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
1/3 cup sugar
juice of 1/2 lemon (or a bit of orange juice)
To remove the vanilla bean "caviar," split the vanilla bean down the center with a sharp knife.  Scrape the edge of a knife along the inner surface of the vanilla bean pod.  After you add the vanilla bean "caviar" to the sauce, I just throw the whole pod in there for a while.  I want to make sure I get all of those wonderful seeds in there.  They are super fragrant!

Cook on medium until thick and bubbly.  The strawberries will release their juices, break down and mush up.   You can use a potato masher to break down the strawberries or leave it chunky if you want.  You could also puree the sauce in a blender if you wanted it really smooth.
Add the cornstarch.  I mixed it with about a tablespoon or so of water first, so it wouldn't get lumpy. 

Then cook until thick.... and that's it!!!

Here's our satisfied customer!

I hope you have enjoyed this recipe.  If you'd like to see more of what we cook around here, please visit my Recipe Index.  There are tons of ideas on there of things you can cook for/with your family.

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Here are a few recipes to pique your curiosity:
Dill and Sun Dried Tomato Cucumber Rolls
Food Notes: (Wikipedia)
Vanilla is a flavoring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, which is native to Mexico. Etymologically, vanilla derives from the Spanish word "vainilla," little pod.  Attempts to cultivate the vanilla plant outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the vine that produced the vanilla orchid and the local species of Melipona bee; it was not until 1837 that Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered the plant could be hand pollinated. Hand pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.

There are currently three major cultivars of vanilla grown globally, all of which derive from a species originally found in Mesoamerica.  The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia variety, more commonly known as Bourbon vanilla or Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighboring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia.

Vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavor, "pure, spicy, and delicate" and its complex floral aroma. As a result, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture and aromatherapy.

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