A rich silky vanilla custard sauce to serve with poached fruits, cakes and puddings, creme anglaise is very easy to make. But remember, once the egg yolks are added, the sauce must never come to a boil or the eggs will curdle. It is useful to have on hand a large bowl filled with ice cubes into which you can plunge the saucepan and stop the cooking immediately.
- Pour the milk and cream into to medium-sized saucepan.
- If using vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the pan and then add the bean itself.
- Heat the milk until bubbles appear around the edge.
- Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for 15 minutes to let the milk absorb the vanilla.
- Remove and discard the bean.
- Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and vanilla extract, if using, until light and foamy, about 3 minutes.
- Starting with a few tablespoons, very gradually stir in the hot milk.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard starts to thicken slightly.
- Be very careful not to let the custard come to a boil or it will curdle.
- Allow the custard to cool completely and refrigerate.
- Variation: Flavor your custard with the grated zest of 1/2 lemon or orange instead of the vanilla.
- Or add a TBS or so of Grand Marnier, kirsch, or Kahlua to the finish custard.