Creme Anglaise is a classic French sauce that is delicious on a variety of desserts, or as a basis for ice cream. It’s a one of the “mother sauces” of French cuisine. Once you’ve mastered the basic technique, you can make it thicker for ice cream, or thinner as a dessert sauce.
What is Crème Anglaise used for?
This delicious vanilla scented sauce is a perfect way to dress up a bowl of seasonal fruit, pour over a slice of bread pudding or a slice of pie. It’s also one of the primary ingredients in this English Trifle. It can be made with either whole milk or heavy cream. (This post was originally published on December 6th, 2012 as part of my English Trifle post. It has been updated. As an Amazon Affiliate, I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
What’s the difference between Crème Anglaise and custard?
The difference between the two comes down to thickness. Custard is thicker than crème Anglaise and would similar to American pudding. If you’d like a thicker sauce, add less milk or use cream. If you’d like a thinner sauce, use milk. The basic recipe using cream, egg yolks, vanilla, sugar and cream, is the basis for classic vanilla ice cream or as a custard in English Trifle.
Ingredients for Crème Anglaise
While some recipes call for whole milk, this one, using cream will result in a richer result. You’ll need egg yolks, a vanilla bean, sugar and cream. If you can’t find vanilla beans, this vanilla paste works well. Using vanilla beans or paste will give those light brown flecks and give a richer flavor. (This post was originally published on December 6th, 2012 and has been updated. As an Amazon Associate I earn commission on qualifying purchases.)
How to make Crème Anglaise
The only tricky bit with making this sauce is tempering the egg yolks. Add them all at once to the hot milk or cream, and you will end up with scrambled eggs.
First split a vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Carefully scrape the seeds.
Add vanilla seeds to the cream and bring to a slight boil over a medium heat. In a stand mixer beat the egg yolks and sugar until thick ribbons form.
Next, temper the egg yolks by slowly adding a cup of warm cream to the yolks while whisking constantly. Once the egg yolks have been warmed with the cream, they can be added to the remaining hot cream. Add the tempered egg yolk mixture back to the remaining cream.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over a medium heat, then reduce it to a slight simmer, stirring constantly until the Creme Anglaise is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Keep an eye on the heat, you don’t want the cream to come to a rolling boil. Since everyone’s stove behaves differently, you’ll have to rely on your eye to monitor the heat.
How can you tell when Creme Anglaise is done?
Once the sauce has thickened, it will coat the back of a spoon. Once it has Remove from heat and strain custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any lumps.
Cool the custard and press plastic wrap over the top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.
How long will Creme Anglaise last?
If you’re planning on using the custard/sauce as a base for ice cream, you’ll want to make it the day before so that it is completely chilled. If using it as a component in a dessert or as a sauce, it will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
What can you do with leftover Creme Anglaise?
If you have leftover creme Anglaise, you can make these mini trifles. Just layer a few fresh berries with the leftover Creme Anglaise.
Add small cubes of plain leftover cake. A sprinkle of raspberry liqueur and some fresh whipped cream and you’ve got a pretty and elegant dessert.
- 1 vanilla bean split lengthwise
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 6 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- Split vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Carefully scrap seeds.
- In a saucepan over a medium heat, bring 2 cups heavy cream to a bare boil with vanilla bean and scraped seeds.
- Remove cream from heat. While cream is cooling, beat the egg yolks and 1/2 cup sugar in a mixer, until thick ribbons form.
- To temper the egg yolks, and keep them from curdling, gradually add 1 cup warm cream to egg mixture, whisking constantly.
- Add tempered egg yolk mixture back into saucepan, with remaining cream and stir constantly over a medium heat, until thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and strain through a fine strainer. Remove the vanilla pod. (I rinse it off and dry it, then add it to a bowl of sugar)
- Cool custard slightly and then cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until ready to use.