Bravetart—Stella Parks, Pastry Chef and Writer: HWC-2017-06-20
Listen to this episode here.
Stella Parks gratified as many of the wishes of the Hot Water Cornbread crew as she possibly could in one short hour (minus our worthy PSAs and sponsor spots). Chef Ouita and Stella have a long history, extending back to Stella's high school days—when, Ouita points out, Stella was already famous in Woodford County, Kentucky, for her cookies.
We talked about what it has been like, making a big, fine cookbook for six years. Bravetart: Iconic American Desserts launches on August 15. Preorder now.
Stella shared some of her deep knowledge of vanilla, a crucial pastry ingredient. Listen to her take on when you might appropriately use synthetic vanilla (vanillin from sources other than a vanilla bean), and how to work with vanilla extracts originating in different parts of the world. Hear her take on why vanilla beans, selling at about $300/pound at the moment, are underpriced as well as under-valued.
We paid respects, 176 years after the fact, to Edmond Albius, a 12-year old slave on the island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, who discovered how humans can bring about pollination in vanilla beans, a system still in use to produce virtually every precious vanilla bean today.