Crème Anglais

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on August 15, 2010

Crème Anglais is one of those versatile sauces/bases that you can use for many different things.  I use it not only as a desserts sauce, but as a base for a delicious custard ice cream or for a Bavarian mousse. I made a batch today to show you how easy it is to make. Once you have made it, store it well covered and refrigerated because like most delicate creams and custards, it tends to absorb the flavors and smells of other stronger scented products around it. Many people buy vanilla ice cream and melt it down, when a quick “Crème Anglais” is required…I have actually heard Emeril suggest this, but I know that once you have made it , you will agree that you should keep the ice cream where it belongs…in the freezer section of the supermarket…

***An original recipe from

Crème Anglais

10 yolks

10 oz granulated sugar

13 oz whole milk

13 oz heavy cream

1 split vanilla bean

NOTE: Make sure to use the whole cream and milk combination, it has been proven that this provides a higher milk fat content than using half and half.

Pour your milk and heavy cream into a medium sized stainless steel pot. Cut and split open your vanilla bean and add it to the milk mixture. If you need some instruction on how to do this, click here.  Put it on a moderate heat and let it heat up but not boil. This is called scalding the milk, and you know that it is ready when you see a thin skin forming on the top of the milk and a few whisps of smoke coming off the surface, like this…

While the milk mixture is heating up, separate your yolks from the whites. Make sure to put them in a large enough bowl that will accommodate all of the liquid, because you will be tempering that in. Set the yolks aside, and cover and refrigerate the whites or freeze them in and ice cube tray for more manageability. Add the sugar to the yolks and mix well right away. If you do not whisk the sugar into the yolks immediately, the sugar will cook the surface of the yolk, and you will end up with a few lumpy pieces in your mix.

Once the milk is scalded, pour slowly over the sugar/yolk mix. Use a wire whip to incorporate well and to keep the mixture moving so that you don’t scramble the yolks. Slowly add all of the hot liquid into the egg mix, and once it is all mixed well together, put this back into your stainless steel pot. Now you need to use a wooden spoon, and stir continuously over moderate heat until it has thickened and it coats the back of a spoon…this should take about 10-15 minutes. When you feel that it is ready, run your finger down the back of the spoon and make sure that the mixture stays thick, and does not run together.

Strain into a storage container and let cool completely. Cover with a lid or plastic wrap and refrigerate.

You must use this within 5 days. Before using, use a wire whisk to reincorporate everything together, because it may separate a little while stored in the refrigerator.

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