Recipe: Vanilla Bean n’ Tropical Fruit (w/ poll)

Vanilla beans might as well be jewels. The insides are full of teeny, tiny black caviar – the likes of which I can’t help but want all over my ice cream and baked goods… I even like to dab vanilla extract on my wrists when baking.

Suffice it to say, I’m a fan.

Now, imagine yourself in a country like Madagascar, where there are enough vanilla beans to pave the streets. There, thanks to such quantity, the people use vanilla bean caviar much more whimsically than I can ($8 per bean, anyone?).

Vanilla bean sorting in Sambava, Madagascar - photo by Lemurbaby. Vanilla beans on the plant. Photo by Sunil Elias.

Even just this little bit easily¬†perfumes my entire home…

Can you imagine how intoxicating the air must smell in Madagascar, where clumps of vanilla beans hang heavy in the humid air?

So what about today’s fun recipe?

Well, we’re following the Malagasy style, and using the bean used in it’s most pure form, tossed with fresh, tropical fruit. The juices become infused with the most amazing, haunting vanilla flavor.

While I thought I was going to make a mixed fruit salad (hello, did you see that teeny, tiny pineapple? So adorable), I stopped short when I got to the Rambutan, the spikey balls that, when peeled (you don’t even need a knife – they just pop right out of their skins), reveal creamy white fruit which tastes something like sweet pears. But better.

Like pears filled with moonlight and happy dreams.

The insides practically glow:

And, when mixed with the contents of half a vanilla bean, they look super mod (they’re in their party dress!) and taste like juicy, sweet vanilla bombs. Just mind the pits.

You could also do this with lychees, which taste similar (you can find both at your local Asian market – if not fresh, then canned).

Of course, any tropical fruit will do. I think a champagne mango would be particulary nice.

So what do you think?

Will you be trying this one? If yes, with what fruit? If no, what’s stopping you?

(P.S. You can also simply splash on a bit of vanilla extract to your next fruit salad, for a delicious variation)

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  1. Estelle Yong says:

    I love vanilla too! :)

  2. Kate Machin says:

    Vanilla rocks! I’ve even been known to lightly wipe vanilla extract over the shelves in my refrigerator – not only does it clean them, but I get to sniff that wonderful scent every time I open the door. Sad, but true!

  3. That pineapple is too cute.

  4. I have eaten fresh lychees and their pits are definitely not edible. I really don’t think you can eat them. Sorry.

    • Sasha Martin says:

      Oh my goodness. Thank you. I just looked it up and you’re right. The man at the market told me I could, but I must have misunderstood him (thick accent)… Updating post now.

  5. You must start buying your vanilla beans online. You can get them MUCH cheaper. I just ordered 10 organic mexican vanilla beans for $2.20 each (from Beanilla via But a quick google search will give you lots of other options as well. Here’s a company that sells fair trade bourbon vanilla beans for as low as 50 cents/each:

  6. Sunil Elias says:

    I’m Sunil Elias who took the vanilla beans picture here. Glad to see my pic here and all the best to you!

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