This is also known as "English Custard" and "Custard Sauce."
- 2 cups cream or milk
- 1/2 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- If using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise, then scrape with the back edge
of a knife and add to the cream — seeds, pod and all. If you are using vanilla
extract, add it after cooking.
- In a heavy saucepan, barely boil the cream and the
prepared vanilla bean.
- Set a large fine mesh strainer over a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice.
- In the
top of a double boiler, whisk the yolks and sugar by hand or with a portable electric
mixer until thick and smooth, about 30 seconds.
- Slowly whisk in the hot cream and
vanilla bean. Cook in the double boiler set over simmering water, stirring gently
and constantly all around the bottom and corners with a wooden spatula. Eventually
the foam will subside. The Creme Anglaise is done when it coats a wooden spoon without
bare spots, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Immediately pour through the strainer. If you are
using vanilla extract, add it now.
- To keep Creme Anglaise warm for serving, place it in a bowl set in a larger pot
of hot water.
- To store, cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the Creme
Anglaise, and refrigerate.
For a flavor variation, add 1 teaspoon cinnamon to vanilla-flavored cream, or
replace vanilla extract with 2 teaspoons brandy, rum, amaretto, Kahlua or Grand