I have a recipe for a self-saucing pudding that separates into a sponge top with a custard layer beneath, rather like Lemon Surprise Pudding. It calls for one tablespoon of vanilla.

For an idea of the size of the recipe, it starts:

1 cup flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar

This is surely not ground vanilla pods or vanilla extract, as so much would be overpowering.

Is there something similar in the English pantry that is similar, or can someone provide an equivalent amount of vanilla extract?

  • Please be aware that in some countries vanilla aroma is more popular than vanilla extract. E.g. in Poland vanilla aroma is the king and is being sold in 9-10 ml bottles. This is sufficient for 2kg of dough. Vanilla extract is usually in 50-100ml bottles, so you can imagine the difference in power. – Szymon Dec 9 '16 at 11:25
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    If this is an older recipe, it's possible it's from before 'double strength' vanilla extract was the norm. – Joe Dec 9 '16 at 16:46
up vote 11 down vote accepted

It means vanilla extract.

Whether it's correct or not is hard to say. It does sound like a lot for something with those quantities, so it's possible they meant to say a teaspoon, which is a pretty common amount, resulting in a subtle but noticeable flavor in a batch of chocolate chip cookies, for example.

Or it's possible they just wanted whatever it is you're making to really taste like vanilla, rather than just have a hint of vanilla in the background. Vanilla really is a subtle flavor, so it takes a lot to make it strong, and it's hard for it to really be overpowering.

  • It's a self-saucing chocolate pudding that separates into a sponge top with a custard layer beneath, rather like Lemon Surprise Pudding. I guess the amount of vanilla isn't critical as it won't affect the cooking process. I think I will start with two teaspoons as a compromise and go from there. – Borodin Feb 13 '15 at 3:04
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    Do not skimp on the tablespoon of vanilla! I did look up one of my favorite pudding recipes and one tablespoon seemed fine for a small batch. Also, as as baker, I have found that even if you use a bit more vanilla extract, it is not that big of a deal. The flavor is great as long as you do not drench it to the point of double, triple, etc. The flavor of chocolate and vanilla go great together, they complement each other in baking. – user33210 Feb 13 '15 at 4:13
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    @Borodin Ah, so there's a fair amount of liquid ingredients beyond what you listed, then? That'd make the tablespoon not quite as excessive sounding. Certainly do what you think is best, anyways - though if you have any reason to believe that it's a good recipe and not just a mistake (good source, reviews, etc) I would personally be tempted to make it as-is on the first try. Sometimes our instincts are wrong and other people really do have good ideas :) – Cascabel Feb 13 '15 at 4:24

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