Crème Anglaise, also known as English custard, is a classic French dessert sauce that epitomizes elegance and indulgence. With its velvety texture, delicate sweetness, and rich vanilla flavor, Crème Anglaise is a versatile accompaniment to a wide range of desserts. Whether drizzled over fresh berries, poured alongside a warm slice of our Caprese cake, or used as a base for ice cream, this luscious sauce adds a touch of sophistication to any sweet creation. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Crème Anglaise, exploring its key ingredients, the art of tempering, and tips for achieving the perfect consistency. Get ready to indulge your senses in this exquisite dessert sauce.
The Essence of Vanilla:
At the heart of Crème Anglaise lies the exquisite flavor of vanilla. The sauce derives its heavenly aroma and distinct taste from the infusion of vanilla beans or pure vanilla extract. When selecting vanilla beans, choose plump and fragrant ones for the best results. Alternatively, high-quality vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste can be used as a convenient substitute.
To create the creamy and silky texture of Crème Anglaise, the following ingredients are key:
- Egg yolks: The richness of egg yolks contributes to the velvety consistency and smoothness of the sauce. They also provide a luxurious yellow hue.
- Sugar: Sugar adds sweetness to balance the richness of the egg yolks. Adjust the amount according to your desired level of sweetness.
- Milk and/or Cream: The choice of dairy products plays a role in determining the richness of the sauce. A combination of milk and cream offers a balance of flavor and texture, but you can adjust the ratio to suit your preference.
The Art of Tempering:
Tempering is a crucial step in creating a successful Crème Anglaise, as it prevents the eggs from curdling and ensures a smooth and homogeneous sauce. Follow these steps for tempering:
- In a saucepan, heat the milk and/or cream over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Remove from heat when it begins to steam.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.
- Slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking continuously to temper the eggs. This gradual addition of hot liquid helps bring the temperature of the eggs up slowly without curdling them.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or spatula, until the sauce thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon.
- Be careful not to overcook the sauce, as it can curdle or turn into custard. Remove from heat promptly once it reaches the desired consistency.
Perfecting the Consistency:
The desired consistency of Crème Anglaise should be smooth and pourable. Once it coats the back of a spoon and holds in place when you run your finger down the back of the spoon in a strait line, it is ready. Here are a few tips to achieve the perfect texture:
- Strain the sauce through a fine-mesh sieve after cooking to remove any lumps or bits of cooked egg for a velvety smooth finish.
- To cool the sauce and prevent further cooking, place the saucepan in an ice bath and stir occasionally until it reaches room temperature.
Crème Anglaise is a sublime dessert sauce that elevates any sweet creation to new heights of elegance and indulgence. With its silky texture, delicate sweetness, and enchanting vanilla flavor, it is a true delight for the senses. By mastering the art of tempering and following a few simple steps, you can create a Crème Anglaise that is velvety smooth and irresistible. So, embrace the elegance of this classic French sauce and let it transform your desserts into extraordinary culinary experiences. Enjoy!
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 pinch table salt
- 1 vanilla bean split or 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- In a small saucepan, combine egg yolks, sugar and pinch of salt. Whisk until light in color.
- Heat milk and heavy cream (do not boil) and vanilla. Slowly add milk mixture into the egg mixture whisking constantly.
- Once all the milk is added place the saucepan over low heat and stir constantly until the custard thickens and forms a thin coat on the back of the spoon.
- Remove from heat and transfer custard to another container to cool. Once cool, refrigerate until ready to use.