Crème Anglais is a rich, creamy dessert sauce. It is sweet, mellow, and heady with vanilla, like melted ice cream, but thicker, richer and oh so velvety. It is both elegant and comforting.
Use Crème Anglais to dress up a slice of cake. Pour it over fresh berries. Or serve it with a bread pudding or even over French toast.
Makes about 1 1/2 cups (355 ml).
- 1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
- 1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (52 g) granulated sugar
1) First, a little preparation…
– Have a medium heat-proof bowl with a sieve nearby for the finished créme anglaise.
– Prepare a medium saucepan of simmering water to use as a double boiler.
– Have an instant-read thermometer handy, if you have one.
2) Heat the cream and vanilla.
– Pour the cream into a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan.
– Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and then scrape the vanilla seeds into the cream. Drop the vanilla pod into the cream, as well.
– Heat the cream and vanilla over medium heat until bubbles form at the edges of the saucepan and steam begins to appear. Do not boil.
3) Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Combine with the hot cream.
– Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a medium heat-proof bowl until smooth and lightened in color.
– Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolks while whisking constantly.
4) Heat the egg yolk/cream mixture over a double boiler until thickened.
– Place the bowl with the egg yolk/cream mixture over the pan of simmering water.
– Continue to cook over the simmering water, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon enough that you can run a clean line through it with your finger. The mixture will read about 160°F (71°C) on an instant-read thermometer. (See TIPS.)
– Pour through the sieve and set aside to cool.
About this recipe
Crème Anglais is straightforward and simple with only 4 ingredients heated and stirred until thickened. But it does need your full attention. If heated just a bit too long, it can be grainy and can quickly turn into sweet scrambled eggs.
But if done right, it is a velvety, smooth custard that is tempting to drink by the cupful. It is infinitely versatile and elegant in its simplicity.
Here are 3 helpful tips:
1) Adjust to taste.
– Adjust the sugar to your liking. Use more or less. You can even substitute the granulated sugar with brown sugar or maple syrup.
– For a lighter or thinner sauce, the heavy cream can be replaced with half & half.
2) Tend to your custard lovingly.
– Stir the custard continuously, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl to prevent any of the custard from overcooking.
– Test the custard often, checking to see if it coats the back of the spoon or reads 160°F (71°C) on the instant-read thermometer.
3) Don’t skip pouring the custard though a sieve, even if you didn’t use vanilla beans.
– The sieve isn’t just to remove the vanilla pods, but also to remove any cooked egg or other solids. It will ensure a smooth and velvety sauce.
Crème Anglais makes a delicious dipping sauce for TURON!