Crème Anglaise - Vanilla Custard Sauce
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Crème Anglaise - Vanilla Custard Sauce
Crème anglaise is a light and creamy cream sauce infused with vanilla.
Vanilla drizzle sauce can be poured over any dessert, from pound cake to baked apples, or to add an air of elegance to a simple fruit salad.
Served hot or cold, crème anglaise enhances your desserts with added richness and floral vanilla flavor.
Crème Anglaise: Simple ingredients, little effort
Similar to a vanilla custard, crème anglaise is made with egg yolks, sugar, milk, cream, and vanilla. But compared to a traditional custard or vanilla pudding, crème anglaise is thinner.
It is a velvety, pourable sauce that is used to accompany other desserts.
Crème anglaise is a relatively easy starter upgrade to turn any dessert into a special occasion or fancy date night.
With just a little bit of work up front, you have a beautiful homemade sauce to enhance any regular or store-bought dessert.
How to Make Crème Anglaise
Crème anglaise is a light cream that thickens with just the egg yolks and heat. The milk and cream are heated over low heat and infused with a vanilla bean.
The hot cream is gradually whipped into a mixture of yolks and sugar to temper the yolks.
The slow addition of hot milk gently warms the yolks, preventing them from overcooking and curdling.
The cream is returned to the pan and simmered until thickened. You can check the thickness by spreading a wooden spoon with the cream.
Run your finger through the cream and if it leaves a clean path, the cream is ready.
How to prevent crème anglaise from curdling
Crème anglaise is delicate and prone to overcooking. Many cooks worry that their silky custard will turn into a pot of scrambled eggs.
But equipped with the proper knowledge beforehand, you have nothing to fear.
- The most important tip is to gently heat the crème anglaise. Just use low or medium-low heat for the entire process. Using low heat slows down the process. That means it takes a little longer, but it also means there's more time for the vanilla to infuse the milk and cream. Over low heat, the yolks slowly thicken the cream, making it smoother and creamier, without curdled eggs.
- Tempering the yolks (beating small amounts of the hot milk mixture into the yolks at a time) also helps prevent the yolks from curdling. Tempering slowly raises the temperature of the yolks and prevents them from churning.
- While the cream is cooking, whisk constantly. The constant movement helps distribute heat evenly and also prevents burns. To be safe, pour the cooked cream through a fine mesh strainer for a smooth, lump-free sauce.
Creepy English Cream
After cooking on the stovetop, crème anglaise needs time to cool and firm up properly before serving.
The small batch for this recipe can be chilled in the refrigerator immediately after cooking.
Cover the cream with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or buttered parchment, pressed directly onto the surface.
This helps prevent a skin from forming. Then place the bowl in the refrigerator to chill.
If you're making a large serving by doubling or tripling this recipe, consider chilling the crème anglaise with an ice bath.
Place the covered bowl of cream into a larger bowl filled with ice water and chill for 30 minutes before transferring the cream to the refrigerator to finish setting.
Crème Anglaise flavor variations
Once you learn how to make crème anglaise, changing flavors is easy. Instead of, or in addition to vanilla, you can drench milk and cream with other flavors to pair with your desserts.
- Cinnamon: Add a cinnamon stick to the milk mixture in step 2 and bring to a boil. Remove the cinnamon stick before tempering the egg yolks in step 3.
- Coffee: Once the milk and cream are boiling, remove the saucepan from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of coarsely ground coffee. Cover the pot and let it rest for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain the cream before tempering the egg yolks in step 3.
- Lemon: Add the zest of 1 lemon to the milk mixture in step 2 and bring to a boil. Strain the cream before tempering the egg yolks in step 3.
Ideas for Serving Crème Anglaise
Crème anglaise adds rich creaminess and a touch of vanilla to your desserts. It brings refinement, transforming a fruit salad into a composite dessert.
Try serving crème anglaise with any of your favorite desserts and you'll find that they suddenly become even more delicious.
You can serve custard hot or cold, but it's especially comforting when heated and poured over a slice of pound cake or fruitcake.
Reheat the cream in a glass or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for 5 minutes or until warm, stirring occasionally.
- 4 large gems
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1/2 cup of whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 vanilla pod
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar:
In a medium heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and pale, about 1 minute.
You can place a damp kitchen towel under the bowl while stirring so it doesn't slip.
Bring the milk and cream to a boil:
Pour the milk and cream into a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife and use the knife to scrape out the seeds.
Add the seeds and vanilla bean to the pan.
Bring the milk mixture to a boil over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from burning.
The milk and cream should come to a boil with little bubbles around the edges of the pan. Don't let it boil.
Season the gems:
As soon as the milk and cream boil, remove the saucepan from the heat. Remove the vanilla bean with a pair of tongs.
With one hand, slowly pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture, a little at a time, while stirring constantly with the other hand.
The damp towel under the bowl should keep it from slipping as you whisk.
Thicken the cream:
Pour the cream back into the pan and cook, over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream begins to thicken, about 5 minutes.
Do not boil.
You can check the thickness by spreading a wooden spoon with the cream. Run your finger through the cream and if it leaves a clean path, the cream is ready.
Strain and cool:
Pour the crème anglaise through a fine mesh strainer into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the crème.
Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.
Serve crème anglaise hot or cold, but it's especially comforting when heated and poured over a slice of pound cake or fruitcake.
The crème anglaise can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
To prevent the formation of a skin, place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream.
Custard can be reheated in a glass or metal bowl over a saucepan of simmering water for 5 minutes or until warm, stirring occasionally.
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