vacherin – A French dessert made from rings of baked meringue piped and stacked in the shape of a basket. The basket is filled with crème Chantilly or ice cream and fruit. The top may be left open or covered with a baked meringue lid, and then garnished with sugared flowers.
vanilla bean – The pod of a tropical climbing orchid vine grown in southern Mexico, Tahiti, and Madagascar. The pods are picked green, then cured by placing in a boiling water bath, then alternately wrapped to sweat in the sun and dried, producing a bean with a dark shriveled appearance with the outside encrusted with white crystals called vanillin.
Vanilla beans are often used to flavor desserts. To use the vanilla bean for flavoring, the bean is split open to reveal the tiny black seeds that contain the most potent vanilla flavor. After the seeds are removed, the remaining bean can be used to flavor sugar. See recipe for Vanilla Bean Cupcakes.
vanilla extract – A widely used and popular flavor for baked items and confections.
Pure vanilla extract is produced by steeping vanilla beans in an alcohol and water mixture. It is very concentrated and only a small amount is needed to impart the flavor. Shop for pure vanilla extract.
Imitation vanilla extract is made entirely of artificial flavorings. It is less expensive than pure vanilla extract, with a harsher quality that may give a bitter aftertaste. It is more diluted and requires a greater amount to give a vanilla flavor.
vanilla kipferi – An Austrian Christmas butter cookie, made with a rich dough of butter, ground almonds, sugar, and vanilla. After baking the cookies are rolled in confectioners’ sugar.
vanilla powder – Whole dried vanilla beans that are ground to a powder.
vanilla sauce – Another name for crème anglaise.
vanilla sugar – Confectioners’ sugar or granulated sugar infused with vanilla flavor. Vanilla sugar is normally made with the remaining bean after the inner black seeds are removed for other recipes. One or more beans are placed in a jar and covered with sugar. The jar is covered and left to sit for at least 24 hours to allow the sugar to absorb the vanilla flavor. The longer the beans are left in the sugar, the stronger the flavor. The sugar can be replenished for several months. Vanilla sugar can be used to sweeten beverages and substituted in most recipes that contain sugar.
vanillin – The white crystals that form on the outside of the vanilla beans during the curing process. Vanillin is also produced synthetically as a by-product of the paper industry and used to flavor imitation vanilla extract.
vatrouchka – A Russian cheesecake made with cheese curd and dried fruits, and topped with sweet pastry dough in a lattice design and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.
vatrouchki – A Russian turnover filled with cheese curd and sometimes fruit.
vegan – A person who does not eat anything derived from animals including meat, butter, eggs, cheese, and milk. Baked items may use fruits, vegetables, nuts, and soy milk as a substitute.
Veneziana – An Italian bread made at Christmastime and New Year’s. The bread is similar to pannetone but has no candied fruit or citron.
Viennese horn – Also caked kipferin. A Viennese butter cookie in a crescent shape made at Christmastime. The cookie is made with ground almonds and rolled in confectioners’ sugar.
Victoria sandwich cake – An English cake made with two layers of sponge cake filled with raspberry or strawberry jam along with sweetened whipped cream or buttercream. The top and sides of the cake are frosted with additional whipped cream or buttercream and garnished with toasted sliced almonds. This cake is names for Queen Victoria.