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This time it’s the tonka bean ice cream that will be in the spotlight for the recipe today. I love the wonderful smell these beans it have, a gentle mix of tobacco, slight hint of vanilla and almonds, smells like heaven ;-).
If I was asked what I enjoy most in my desserts I think I would answer “homemade ice cream or sorbet of course”.
I don’t usually wait until summer and the scorching heat to enjoy it. However, I have a preference for sorbets, especially in the summer, made with seasonal fruits and my favorite nuts/seeds, one of which happens to be the tonka bean. My favorite is this one “sorbet with 2 peaches with verbena” I make tons of it every year. As for ice creams and tart, I love the “Armagnac prunes” and the “ginger ice cream“.
Tonka bean health benefits and effects
Tonka bean is undoubtedly a great and exquisite ingredient. It pairs well with chocolate, will elevate your pancake or Pie Pasta. In any case it is a precious spice and if it is placed in this category of food then it is absolutely necessary to lift the veil on its medicinal virtues. In large doses tonka bean can kill you, in small doses it heals, it is exactly like the pharmaceutical drugs we consume. The dose makes the poison, right.
Tonka bean is a light anticoagulant.
Consumed in small doses it has great virtues favorable to your well-being. It would have a strong anti-doping action. It is very tonic that is to say that it allows you to gain strength. Anesthetics it can allow you to reduce pain and it is bactericidal too.
Traditional healers in South America and the Caribbean use it to cure diseases like diarrhea, cough and whooping cough. It would help fight cold sores. It should be understood that when it is said that a product is dangerous, it can both kill and cure.
The same properties that can kill in high doses can cure in small doses. The Food and Drug Administration has taken the side of not allowing it as an addition in the diet, but this should not make you panic. A sterile life in terms of flavors and new senses is not worth living if you ask me. Though, it’s always good to keep things safe and in the allowed dosages.
Tonka bean has a chemical compound called coumarin, which is found also with small amounts true in Ceylon cinnamon and in larger quantities in cassia cinnamon.
Coumarin is also found in some other plants like:
- vanilla grass,
- sweet woodruff,
- sweet grass,
few edible fruits such as
- black currants,
- cherries/ cherry blossoms
- and licorice.
Coumarin is a controversial substance seen as causing health issues if used in large amounts, but the same applies to almost any other naturally occurring compound. Just the fact that it is found in many plants we normally eat without fear of poisoning is enough to make you not worry if you use it in cooking in small amounts like you would do with nutmeg, cinnamon and many other spices and fruits.
Tonka bean is grown from the fruits of a tropical tree almost 30 meters high and producing the wood called “teak”, tonka beans are currently very fashionable in the world of cooking.
Once extracted from the fruits, tonka beans are first dried, and then sold whole or ground. Also called “coumarou” or ” coumarines”, tonka beans are still little known.
Tonka bean: how to recognize it?
Characterized by a matte gray color of the outer shell and slightly shriveled look, tonka beans are relatively wide and can measure up to 3 centimeters long.
Their taste is released once they have been macerated and their aroma is reminiscent of both almonds, vanilla, tobacco, caramel and chocolate.
Thus, tonka beans are particularly suitable for sweet dishes and can be used as a substitute for vanilla flavors.
Good to know: tonka beans are sometimes used in the tobacco industry as aroma in cigars
Relatively low-calorie, tonka bean powder can be consumed even with a strict diet.
It can also be added in dishes and drinks to combat fatigue, tonus drops and viral infections, reduce pain due to rheumatism or bruises, calm cough, relieve sore throat and fight diarrhea.
Good to know: tonka bean powder can be toxic if consumed in very high doses. If in doubt, it is recommended to seek advice from a health professional
How to cook Tonka bean?
Due to their intense taste, it is recommended to add a simple pinch of ground or grated tonka beans when preparing dishes.
Particularly suitable for dessert accompaniment, tonka bean can be used to Top vanilla, caramel or chocolate ice creams and mousses, chocolate truffles, snow eggs and pie pastes.
Finally, just like nutmeg, a pinch of tonka beans can be added to mashed potatoes, pumpkin or sweet potatoes.
Where to find Tonka bean and at good price?
Still not widespread in the western world, tonka beans can be purchased in shops specializing in the sale of exotic products, as well as in some grocery stores selling at retail and on the Internet
The average price of tonka beans is between $10 and $15 for 50 to 100 grams of tonka beans.
Good to know: if purchased whole, tonka beans should be kept in an airtight container and protected from moisture.
Tonka bean Ice Cream Recipe
for about 1 litre of ice cream
- 300 ml whole milk
- 250 ml of Whole or heavy liquid cream
- 1 large Tonka Bean
- 4 egg yolks
- 90 gr of powdered sugar
Note: if you want to short cut the recipe and skip all the preparation steps(and waiting) you can just use a ready made vanilla ice cream and sprinkle a little tonka bean shavings on top. It won’t be the same as if you actually made the ice cream with tonka bean, but at least you would be able to say it’s a “tonka bean ice cream”. I don’t really encourage “cheating” like this, but if you don’t have other options this is a one way of doing a simple version of the recipe.
* In a saucepan, pour the milk and cream as well as the grated tonka bean (I have already heard that some people do not grate it and add it whole into the milk/cream mixture. They then recover the bean to use it later. Personally I have never tested this way of doing). Bring to a boil then let it infuse off the heat for at least 30 minutes. 1 hour seems perfect to me but it is possible to leave a whole night.
* Break the eggs and reserve the whites for another use. Put the yolks in a salad bowl and beat with the sugar until the whole blanch. Pour the lightly warmed tonka bean fragrant preparation over the eggs while filtering and stirring the set. Return the preparation to the previously rinsed pan.
On low heat, cook until the liquid thickens a little and tablecloth the spoon. It becomes creamy, be careful, it should not boil. If in spite of everything, the custard has suffered a surplus of cooking (it will then be lumpy) it will be enough to give it a small blow of blender plunging. Then allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally before pouring it into your ice cream maker or blender.
* Once your ice cream is ready, pour it into a freezer container and reserve until ready to serve. This last step also allows to firm a little more your ice which at the end of the blending is still quite flexible and does not allow to make the beautiful well formed balls we all like to see (in any case it is so with my blender).
- 300 ml whole milk
- - 250 ml of Whole liquid cream
- - 1 large Tonka Bean
- - 4 egg yolks
- - 90 gr of powdered sugar
- for flavored milk
- * In a saucepan, pour the milk and cream as well as the grated tonka bean (I have already heard that some people do not grate it and add it whole into the milk/cream mixture. They then recover the bean to use it later. Personally I have never tested this way of doing). Bring to a boil then let it infuse off the heat for at least 30 minutes. 1 hour seems perfect to me but it is possible to leave a whole night.
- for custard:
- * Break the eggs and reserve the whites for another use. Put the yolks in a salad bowl and beat with the sugar until the whole blanch. Pour the lightly warmed tonka bean fragrant preparation over the eggs while filtering and stirring the set. Return the preparation to the previously rinsed pan. On low heat, cook until the liquid thickens a little and tablecloth the spoon. It becomes creamy, be careful, it should not boil. If in spite of everything, the custard has suffered a surplus of cooking (it will then be lumpy) it will be enough to give it a small blow of blender plunging. Then allow to cool completely, stirring occasionally before pouring it into your ice cream maker or turbine.
(The ice is soft and creamy. When serving it, it will not be necessary to take it out in advance like sorbets).
I served this ice cream with pieces of candied quince and some toasted tapered almonds.
If you like homemade ice cream you can also try making a delicious passion fruit ice cream too.
Have you made this tonka bean ice cream recipe before? Let me know in the comments below.