It’s made with egg yolks, cream, a little sugar, and vanilla bean. Very simple, and very delicious. Traditionally it’s actually made with milk, but we decided to go for something decadent and so used heavy cream. Sue me!
The recipes for this one often sound intimidating – there are lots of warnings not to heat too fast lest you curdle the eggs and wreck the whole thing. But don’t worry, it’s really a very simple recipe. The key is to go slow, don’t rush. Just put your burner on low, stir a lot, and don’t walk away from the pan. It’s only 15 minutes…but you’ve got to try to make sure the toddlers don’t burn down the house or similar during those 15 minutes. I recommend either straightjackets or giving them a lick of the crème so that they become addicted and are unable to leave your sight.
See how well it works?
We’ve got a pretty pink recipe coming up later this week that features our crème anglaise, but we can also vouch for it being delicious with fresh strawberries. Or lemon thin cookies. I’m sure there are many other applications, it’s just that I ran out of crème anglaise.
Crack the egg yolks in a heat safe bowl. Set aside at the ready.
- 2 egg yolks, in heat safe bowl
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- vanilla bean seeds from about 2” fresh bean. Or about 1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine cream, sugar, and vanilla bean seeds stovetop. Heat until steaming but not quite boiling. Now, whisk in hand, drizzle the hot milk mixture over the cool egg yolks little by little while whisking or stirring well. Your goal is to slowly incorporate and heat the egg yolks without cooking them. All you have to do is make sure you drizzle in the hot milk a little at a time (especially in the beginning).
Then, take the fully combined mixture and dump it back in the pan. Put it over the heat, on low, and stir slowly but surely, as the mixture gently cooks. It will get thicker and thicker. When it coats the back of a spoon thickly, or when as you stir you feel a good drag and leave a dry path in your wake, you know it’s ready. (picture of the “spoon drag” is shown above, in the action montage)
Take it off the heat and continue stirring for a minute or so to help it cool down aand stop cooking. Pour through a strainer to capture any stray egg curds that may have formed (it happens) into a cool glass jar. Store in the fridge (where it will become firmer as it cools). Drizzle over berries, citrus curds (!!), lemon thin cookies, and much more.