Crème Anglaise is another recipe you need to put in your culinary toolkit. It is classic. Previously I made Crème Fraîche. It has so many uses for both sweet and savory, but now it is all about Crème Anglaise and Strawberry Coulis. These recipes will fancy up the most humble dessert. I know it was just Christmas, but Valentine’s Day is coming.
I think of Crème Anglaise as the Goldilocks sauce – not too sweet, not too rich, but just right. I did some serious research. There are many recipes out there that have more egg yolk and more sugar. More yolks make it just too rich for me and it begins to taste eggy and if there is more sugar it becomes too sweet. If you are going to use this for a bed of a dessert keep in mind there is sugar in the coulis, and cake. However, if you want it sweeter or richer obviously you’re the cook, you’re the boss. I read a blog where the person proclaimed she likes her dessert hurt-her-teeth-sweet. While this made me smile I also kind of cringed. I want flavor and just enough sweet. I do not like to blow up my taste buds. I think this recipe strikes a balance.
Once the milk goes in the pot you need to give it your full attention. Stir constantly. Do not let it boil. It needs to cook until it coats the back of a spoon. Run your finger across the back of the spoon – if a trail is visible or leaves a path it is done. Boiling point is 212°F, if it goes over 180°F it will curdle. Be sure to strain it through a sieve in case you have some curdling and to ensure a smooth Crème Anglaise.
You can make your Crème Anglaise and fruit coulis a day before. Chef Pépin even says you can make the cake a day before. I would not advise more than a day for maximum taste, but it is an option.
I would suggest to those that have sketchy plating skills – you can practice a day before then you can eat your mistakes research. And you can hide your missteps with mint.
Be sure not to waste your whites. Take those whites and make pavlova or meringues, or if you are feeling brave make some macrons, my personal bucket-list – no waste people. For each white use ¼ cup sugar. You will need to adjust cream of tartar and/or white vinegar.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Years. I can’t wait to see what you make this coming year. I have several goals this year. I want to be more organized and a better cook. Oh, and a better photographer. I have decided not to call them New Year’s resolutions, but rather goals for the coming year. You know what happens to resolutions? Nothing….
- 2 cups half & half or whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- ½ cup sugar
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- For the Strawberry Coulis
- Frozen strawberries
- Sugar to taste
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Mise en place ~ Gather ingredients.
- For the coulis
- Place thawed strawberries in blender
- Add sugar to taste and a squeeze of lemon to brighten flavor.
- Blend then strain through a sieve or a foodmill.
- Store in a jar in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- If you have a squeeze bottle it makes it easier to plate.
- For the Crème Anglaise
- Set a fine strainer over a bowl that has a 3-cup capacity.
- Set the bowl in a pan of cold water.
- Rinse your pot with cold water – pour out the water, but leave it wet. It seem to help keep it from scorching.
- In the saucepan add the half-and-half and vanilla bean.
- Cook over moderately low heat just until small bubbles appear around the rim; about 5 minutes.
- In another medium bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks.
- When milk is hot, whisk into the egg/sugar mix in a thin stream so not to curdle the yolks.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan; cook over moderate heat, stir constantly with a wooden spoon, until the sauce has thickened slightly; about 4 to 5 minutes.
- Immediately strain the sauce into the bowl that is sitting in the ice bath (a small bowl in a larger bowl of ice water). This will stop the cooking and will strain out any overcooked egg.
- Scrape the vanilla seeds into the sauce.
- Serve or refrigerate until chilled.
Wait to add sugar to yolks until you are ready to temper them with the hot milk. If you add sugar too soon you will “burn” the yolk causing it to lump. It will not incorporate well and you will end up with an eggy taste. When you do add the sugar make sure your whisk is moving as you slowly add the sugar.
Crème Anglaise is done when you can run your finger through the back of the spoon and it leaves a path.
I am taking this to