So when Dessert Wars announced their April theme was vanilla I was all in. There was a catch though, you needed to use vanilla in three different ways in one dessert. I had quite a few ideas, most of which my husband told me were lame, until I came up with this one.
A vanilla bean wafer crust, a creamy vanilla bean and rum filling, topped with vanilla bean pralines. Have I got your attention now? If you love vanilla this is the dessert for you. Mmmmm. Cream pies are so awesome, and this one is loaded with rich vanilla flavor.
adapted from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 vanilla bean, split length-wise and scraped
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy . Add the egg and vanilla and beat until combined. Whisk together the flour and powder, beat into butter mixture until just combined.
Roll into a log, approximately 12 inches long, the radius should be about 2-3 inches. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take dough out of the freezer about 1/2 hour before slicing. Cut into slices about 1/2 inch thick. Place on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes, than remove to wire rack to cool completely.
Vanilla Wafer Crust
1 1/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers
1/4 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all the ingredients together and press into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
Vanilla Bean Pralines
adapted from Allrecipes
1 1/2 cups toasted pecans
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/8 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split length-wise and scraped
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
In large saucepan over medium heat, combine pecans, sugar, butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla. Heat to between 234 and 240 degrees F (112 to 116 degrees C), or until a small amount of syrup dropped into cold water forms a soft ball that flattens when removed from the water and placed on a flat surface.
Drop by spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet. Let cool completely. Chop coarsely to use as pie topping.
Rum Vanilla Cream Pie Filling
Adapted from Martha Stewart
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 vanilla beans, split and scraped, pods reserved
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon (2 1/2 ounces) golden rum
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softenedCombine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk in milk and vanilla seeds, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until bubbling and thick, about 7 minutes (about 2 minutes after it comes to a boil).
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup heavy cream
Whisk yolks in a medium bowl until combined. Pour in milk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking until completely incorporated. Return the mixture to saucepan, and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to a boil, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from heat, and stir in 1/4 cup rum. Add butter, 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking until butter melts before adding next piece. Let cool in saucepan on a wire rack, whisking occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Pour custard into a large bowl . Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Refrigerate until custard filling is chilled and firm, at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Meanwhile, place cream and vanilla pods in a bowl. Cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or overnight). Remove the vanilla pods and beat the cream into stiff peaks. Stir the custard, then carefully fold the whipped cream into the custard. Spoon into the crust and topped with chopped pralines. Chill until firm, at least one hour.