Tonka bean is a small brown almond-shaped seed from the fruit of Brazilian teak. It is also know as coumarou. Amazonian Indians consider it a lucky charm.
The Tonka bean, a powerful fragrance
When the Coumarou fruit is ripe, it falls on the ground, then it is dried for a year before its seeds are harvested. Very aromatic, with accents of tobacco that smells of Brazil, this bean tastes like a bitter almond with notes of vanilla and smoked grass. Tonka bean contains coumarin, a substance that gives it all its powerful and warm aroma. Fragrances of Tonka bean have been used in the perfume industry for a long time. Only recently it found it's way to gastronomy where its subtle aroma perfumes the dishes of great cooks and pastry chefs. Sometimes it's used as a flavouring in food industry as a substitute for vanilla.
How to use Tonka bean?
Tonka beans can be bought whole or in powder. The Boutique at MEILLEURduCHEF.com carries resealable 20gr packaging, very practical to use.
To preserve its organoleptic qualities Tonka bean, must be shaved or ground at the last moment. Its taste is very intense, use sparingly. Taste your food to adjust the dosage as you go. This flavour is very appreciated in puddings such as custards, crème brûlée, cakes, chocolate, whipped egg-whites, mousse. It can be used with lobsters or scallops.