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Crème Anglaise (Vanilla Custard Sauce)

Creme Anglasie on the back of a spoon over a saucepan.
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Crème Anglaise, or English cream, is a vanilla custard sauce of French origin made with 3 basic ingredients and flavored with vanilla. 

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2/3 cup (75 g) icing (powdered) sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks

Instructions

  1. Split the whole vanilla bean in half and scrape the vanilla seeds with the tip of the small knife. In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and icing sugar with a hand whisk.

  2. Pour milk into a heavy medium saucepan and add vanilla seed with an empty pod. Bring the milk over medium heat to a boil. Remove milk from the heat, cover the pot with a lid, and infuse the milk for 10-20 minutes. Remove the empty pod.

  3. Temper the egg yolks by gradually pouring 1/3 of the hot milk mixture through a fine sieve to the egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return the eggs and milk mixture back to the saucepan (with the rest of the milk) over low heat and stir constantly with a hand whisk or a wooden spoon.

  4. The custard is cooked when you draw a horizontal line with your finger in the spoon that it does not close (this is called cooking à la nappe) or when the instant-read thermometer reaches a temperature of 180°F (82°C). Don't exceed a temperature of 185°F (85°C); otherwise, the eggs will coagulate, making visible lumps in the custard. 

    Pro tip: One of the best ways to avoid overcooking the custard is to remove it from the heat once it reaches 174°F (79°C). While in the pot, it will continue cooking and raise the temperature by 5 or 6°C. Using a cooking thermometer, in this case, is a must.

  5. Optionally, strain the vanilla custard through a fine mesh sieve to remove any possible lumps. Transfer custard from the hot pot to a dish to stop cooking. Use it immediately or cover it with a piece of plastic wrap in contact (it has to touch the surface of the sauce), and refrigerate.

Notes

  1. Opt for a good-quality heavy-bottomed saucepan to ensure better heat distribution.
  2. To prevent sudden coagulation and the formation of lumps, it is essential to gradually pour the hot milk over the yolks and sugar mixture.
  3. Cooking time varies, but you must cook the custard over low heat. Don't let it boil; otherwise, lumps will form.
  4. To avoid overcooking custard, use a cooking thermometer or try to cook it over a double boiler.
  5. To speed up the cooling, place the bowl inside a larger bowl with ice water or ice cubes (ice bath) and stir constantly by winnowing (drawing a figure of eight with a spatula) until the custard cools down.

Nutrition

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