‘Bland’ vanilla gets a glow up with sweet desserts from profiteroles to sponge cake

‘Bland’ vanilla gets a glow up with sweet desserts from profiteroles to sponge cake

Throughout the years, vanilla has gained a reputation for being, well, a bit boring. In reality, however, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

As one of the most expensive spices in the world, vanilla is known for its intense flavour and ability to transform dishes, infusing meals with a burst of warm, sweet goodness.

Whether it’s ice cream, fudge or even your regular coffee shop order, the “little pod” as it translates to from Spanish is guaranteed to add an extra dimension to any recipe, as OK!’s Victoria Gray is here to prove.

From cheesecake to ice cream to profiteroles, here’s three vanilla recipes that are simple yet delicious…

No-bake vanilla cheesecake

SERVES 6-8


Vanilla no-bake cheesecake is the perfect summertime delicacy

Ingredients

  • 250g digestive biscuits
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted
  • 600g soft cheese
  • 90g icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla-bean paste
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 280ml double cream
  • Fresh berries, to serve (optional)

Method

  1. Butter and line a 23cm loose-bottomed round cake tin with baking parchment.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits in a plastic food bag and bash them with a rolling pin to form crumbs.
  3. Transfer the crumbs to a large bowl, then pour over the melted butter. Mix thoroughly until the crumbs are completely coated.
  4. Tip them into the prepared tin and press firmly down into the base to create an even layer.
  5. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour and allow to set firmly.
  6. To make the filling, add the soft cheese, icing sugar, vanilla paste and lime juice and zest to a bowl, then beat until smooth.
  7. Pour in the double cream and continue to beat until the mixture is fully combined.
  8. Spoon it over the biscuit base and smooth the top of the cheesecake with the back of a spoon or spatula. Leave it to set in the fridge overnight.
  9. Serve the cheesecake on its own or with fresh berries.

White chocolate profiteroles

SERVES 6-8


White chocolate profiteroles are easier to make than you may think

Ingredients

  • 50g butter, cut into small cubes
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 75g plain white flour, sifted
  • 2 eggs
  • 300ml double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the white chocolate sauce
  • 100g white chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/gas 7.
  2. Add the butter and 3 tablespoonfuls of caster sugar to a saucepan with 150ml water. Place the saucepan over a low heat until the butter and sugar have melted, then bring gently to the boil.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the flour in one go, then beat energetically with a wooden spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Leave to cool for a few minutes, then beat in the eggs little by little until you have a stiff, glossy mixture.
  5. Spoon walnut-sized blobs of the mixture onto baking trays (allow a 5cm space between the blobs). Then cook for about 18-20 minutes until well risen and golden brown.
  6. Remove the profiteroles from the oven. Cut a small slit in the base of each one and allow them to cool on a wire rack.
  7. Once the profiteroles are cool, whip the cream lightly. Sweeten to taste with the remaining 1 tablespoonful of caster sugar and the vanilla extract.
  8. Pipe the sweetened cream into the profiteroles through the silt.
  9. To make the sauce, place the white chocolate in a non- metallic bowl with the cream then microwave on high for 1 minute.
  10. Check to see if it is soft enough to stir into a sauce. If not, give it another 30 seconds in the microwave, then stir in the vanilla extract until fully combined.
  11. Leave to cool slightly, stirring occasionally, then pour over the profiteroles and serve.

Vanilla ice cream

MAKES 1 LITRE


Vanilla ice cream is just the thing for a hot weather treat

Ingredients

  • 500ml whole milk
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp vanilla-bean paste
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range egg yolks

Method

  1. Pour the milk, cream and vanilla- bean paste into a large saucepan with 2 teaspoons of sugar.
  2. Bring gently to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for 30 minutes to infuse.
  3. Add the sugar and egg yolks to the milk and cream then whisk until the mixture is pale and thick, to ensure that they are all well combined.
  4. Put the pan back on the hob and heat slowly, stirring continuously until the mixture thickens. Be very careful not to boil it, or the eggs will scramble.
  5. Pour the mixture into a large bowl to cool, then chill in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
  6. Churn the mixture in an ice-cream maker until it is frozen. Alternatively, pour it into a container and place in the freezer, mixing a couple of times an hour until it is frozen.

Vanilla sponge cake

SERVES 8-10


Vanilla sponge cake is a go-to favourite

Ingredients

  • 125g unsalted softened butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • For the buttercream icing
  • 200g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • A couple of drops of milk if needed
  • Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas mark 4.
  2. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin with baking parchment.
  3. Cream the butter and caster sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Sift the flour and baking powder, then beat into the mixture.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time followed by the milk and vanilla extract. Beat for 3 minutes until thoroughly combined and the batter is smooth and glossy.
  6. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  7. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  8. To make the buttercream icing, put the butter and sift the icing sugar into a large bowl and cream together.
  9. Add the vanilla extract and mix well to combine. Beat until smooth and creamy (add a couple of drops of milk if needed).
  10. Slice the cake in two horizontally. Place the bottom half on a cake stand, spread over half the buttercream and sandwich together with the top half. Use the remaining buttercream to ice the top of the cake.
  11. Decorate with edible flowers.

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