Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mad Scientist Infusion Experiments: Rasberry, strawberry vanilla and more craziness...

Seeing as it's berry season, a season which is much too short, I've been thinking of things to do with my raspberries, strawberries, blueberries etc.  A few months ago, searching for various recipes for how to make your own vanilla extract from vanilla beans and vodka, I came across some infusion recipes that were pretty intriguing.  Of course, the idea is to drink the vodka and have it taste like fruit, but I'm not a big fan of fruit-tasting alcohol or even really vodka.  I do, however, really like whiskey.

Returning to the point, I had thought that these infusions might make great 'extracts'.  You can make orange essence from orange peel and vodka, why not just let the raspberries sit longer and have raspberry flavoring in addition to (or as an alternative to) vanilla?  I'm a big fan of the chocolate ganache on top of a chocolate cake.  What if it were raspberry flavored?  Triple sec in a chocolate ganache was a breakthrough to me and it's worth exploring these ideas some more.
So today, after the obligatory trip to the farmers' market, I made three infusion/extracts.

#1.  (Far left): Raspberry extract.  I placed a little more than a cup of raspberries in a pint jar filled with vodka.  I figured this will be a nice way to flavor pretty much any kind of chocolate frosting, sauce, or even baked brownies.  We'll see how strong the raspberry flavor is.

#2. (Middle and pictured here again to the right, sorry for the poor quality): My real mad experiment: Cinnamon orange extract with vanilla beans and part of a dry guajillo chile (torn up a little, seeds preserved).  I can't even give this one an easy title because of all of the ingredients.  But I thought this one through pretty well.  Of course orange and cinnamon go well together, and vanilla would help make this richer.  But I'm most excited about the guajillo chile.  It is a pungent chile and I think it's really versatile.  In its powdered form, it always ends up in my red chile sauce and I've also pureed it into my chicken stocks for posole or just a nice hearty stew.  I believe it's necessary to strain at least the orange after a few days, but I'll leave the other ingredients in, hoping they don't overpower the orange flavor.  I thought this would be a great flavoring for rice pudding, shortbread cookies or pretty much anything.  I will update on how this turns out.

#3. (Far right and pictured again here): Strawberry vanilla extract.  What would you not use this for?  Again, it seems like a nice way to flavor melting chocolate, possibly a pudding, or who knows what else.  This one just had to happen because we had a huge box of strawberries and I wanted to make sure we eat them fast enough.   The vanilla beans are recycled from a pint of vanilla extract I started back in January.  The stuff you make is really a lot better than store-bought vanilla and a lot cheaper.

Okay, enough madness.  Coming up next is an enchilada 'casserole' based the call-out I read in this blog post.  I'm looking forward to trying to interact more with the cyber world.  We'll see how it goes.


  1. I've been meaning to try the vanilla for years...and that raspberry infusion sounds wonderful!

  2. I'll let you know how they turn out. I'm excited to try some different things with them!


Related Posts with Thumbnails