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The tonka bean is the seed of a fruit native to the West Indies and central America. The flavour is evocative of almond and vanilla. It is grated into desserts, sometimes to replace vanilla, though with a thoroughly different result. It blends particularly well with maple, nut, or caramel desserts. Also perfectly suited to crème brûlée, pastry cream, and crème caramel. Like nutmeg, the tonka bean can be toxic if consumed in sufficient amounts, but it is harmless if used in normal quantities. Grate onto crêpes, French toast, or sautéd scallops.
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