In a nutshell: The tonka bean is perfect when flavouring milk or custard-based desserts, ice cream and goes well with scallops too.
The tonka bean is the seed of the fruit of the Cumaru tree, native to the West Indies and South America. Our Tonka beans come from Trinidad. The flavour is evocative of almond and vanilla with other notres of cloves and coconut coming through. It is grated into desserts, sometimes to replace vanilla, though with a thoroughly different result. It blends particularly well with maple, nut, or caramel desserts. Also perfectl when making crème brûlée, panacotta, pastry cream, ice cream and crème caramel. Like nutmeg, the tonka bean can be toxic if consumed in sufficient amounts, but it is harmless if used in normal quantities.
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How to use
Grate onto crêpes, French toast, or sautéed scallops.
- Use instead of vanilla when making ice ream.
- Infuse into spirits to flavour cocktails.
About Épices de Cru
Épices de Cru began in 1982 as a catering partnership between Philippe and Ethné de Vienne. Their mission was a kind of “cooking pot anthropology:” learning the secrets of family cooking around the world and applying these techniques to the needs of hungry Montrealers. The secret, they learned, was spices. Over the last two decades, Philippe and Ethné have searched for the world’s best spices, accompanied by their children, Marika and Arik. The de Viennes believe in direct sourcing spices: visiting growing regions, spending time with growers, and developing personal relationships that last decades. In 2004, they officially opened their first spice shop in Montreal’s fantastic Jean Talon market– it’s since become a mecca for foodies from all over the world. I first visited in 2008 and have been buying and using their spices on a regular basis ever since that first exciting visit. They steadfastly maintain that they do nothing original, only facilitating the exchange of culinary common sense from one place to another. But, what they do is simply quite brilliant - by providing us with the finest quality ingredients, and their superb spice mixes, we can all experiment with unusual spices and recreate delicious recipes from around the world.