Creme anglaise, or English cream, is the all purpose dessert sauce. Almost any flavor can be steeped into it or introduced using extracts/liqueurs, although the traditional flavor is vanilla.
This is a rich sauce. To lighten it, you can replace a portion of the cream with milk or half and half. You can also use 3 or 5 yolks, understanding that the yolks provide the thickening power, so fewer yolks will yield a thinner sauce. Add a bit more sugar if you want it sweeter.
Do NOT leave the salt out. The salt will bring out dimension in your sauce, and if you are judicious with it, your sauce will taste wonderful, not salty. Add a pinch, taste, and a bit more if it’s necessary.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 3 oz . sugar
- 4 egg yolks
- vanilla (steeping a scraped bean or extract)
- pinch of salt
- Heat cream, sugar and salt over medium heat until it is just below a boil.
- Temper into lightly beaten egg yolks.
- Pour everything back in the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened. Don't let it boil, but the mixture should coat the back of a spoon. If you're unsure, use your instant read thermometer. The mixture should be at least 160 degrees, F, but no more than 180F.
- Strain into a bowl set into an ice bath.
- Add vanilla (if using) and stir to chill quickly.
Did You Make Any Changes?
Other candidates for steeping include ground or whole coffee beans, cocoa nibs, toasted ground nuts or coconut, herbs such as mint or lemon verbena.
Add a bit of bloomed gelatin (stir in while mixture is still hot--before straining) to make a thicker sauce.
Add enough bloomed gelatin to make it set up like a mousse and fold in some whipped cream and, voilà: bavarian cream!
Emeril says you can melt premium vanilla ice cream and use it as Anglaise. You can. Conversely, take your chilled Anglaise and churn it in your ice cream maker to make a rich, French vanilla ice cream.