Category Archives: Crème Anglaise

Making Crème Anglaise

The process of making crème anglaise is almost identical to that of other stirred custards like pastry cream. It simply involves heating your milk and/or cream mixture, then slowly adding it to the yolks so as to avoid cooking them. After that you simply bring the mixture up to temperature and presto — you’re done. Start by scraping the vanilla seeds into the milk. You may substitute a teaspoon of vanilla extract, but custards make real vanilla shine. Use it if you can.

Add in the sugar…

…and whisk to combine.

Set that on medium heat and bring it up to a simmer. Meanwhile place your egg yolks in a bowl…

…and when the milk mixture is simmering, pour about half a cup into the yolks.

Whisk.

Add maybe another cup of the hot milk mixture…

Whisk.

And pour everything back into the saucepan.

Turn the heat down to low, gently whisking the mixture until the temperature rises to 183 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a thermometer if you have one. If not, cook the mixture gently until a finger run down the back of a spoon cuts a clear path trough the custard.

Remove the finished crème anglaise from the heat and pour it through a fine mesh sieve

Skip this step if you like, but the sieve does strain out the overcooked curds and bits of vanilla pod.

Pour the crème anglaise into a bowl. Let it cool a few minutes, then apply some plastic wrap to the top — right on the surface to prevent a skin from forming on the custard.

When the crème anglaise has cooled down, put it in the refrigerator where it will store for a week, but will taste best if it’s used within a couple of days.

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Crème Anglaise Recipe

Crème anglaise is a standard that every aspiring pastry maker needs to know how to prepare. Essentially it’s just a custard (of the “stirred” variety), that’s so thin that it can be used as a sauce. It’s most common application, however, is as an ice cream base. To make it all you need is:

seeds from half a vanilla bean
2 cups whole milk (for a richer result use half milk and half cream)
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar

Pour the milk into a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Meanwhile, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and whisk them in, along with the sugar. Have the yolks ready in a medium bowl. When the milk mixture starts to simmer, pour about half a cup of it into the yolks and whisk it in. Add about another cup of the milk mixture, whisk, then pour the whole shootin’ match back into the saucepan. Return the pan to low heat and gently bring the mixture up to 183 degrees, whisking steadily. Immediately strain the custard into a bowl. Allow it to cool. Store covered, with plastic wrap touching the surface of the custard so a skin won’t form. Chill at least four hours before using.

Filed under:  Crème Anglaise, Pastry | 8 Comments