Thursday, December 28, 2023

How to Make the Best Crème Anglaise Sauce (Crema Inglese)

With its creamy, velvety texture and enchanting vanilla flavor, creme anglaise (English cream or crema inglese) is the perfect addition to elevate any simple dessert

Today, I'm thrilled to share a classic and versatile great recipe that's a must-have in every home cook's repertoire - Creme Anglaise. 
Together with crema pasticcera (crème pâtissière or Italian pastry cream) is one of my favorite dessert sauce that takes any simple dessert to the next luxious and mouth-watering level.

This luscious and vanilla-flavored cream pairs beautifully with an array of desserts, from bread pudding, olive oil cake, angel food cake, pound cake or chocolate cake to name a few. Or it's amazing all by itself on top of fresh berries or fruit. 

The best part?  It's incredibly easy to make, and I'll be sharing some tips and tricks to ensure your Creme Anglaise turns out with a silky texture - perfectly every time!

Vanilla: It's important to use real vanilla to give this cream the best flavor. I like to use vanilla bean paste for this recipe. OR real vanilla extract as a close alternative and I ran out of the paste. 
If you have it, use vanilla beans. To prepare, simply slice it in half lengthwise, and scrape the tiny black seeds out using the back of a knife. These seeds are what will infuse your Creme Anglaise with that amazing vanilla flavor.
Milk: for this recipe, you can use whole milk or a combination of milk and heavy cream (for a richer result!). In a medium saucepan, heat the milk (or milk and heavy cream mixture) over low heat until it's warm, but not boiling. 

Egg yolks and sugar:  In a small saucepan, add the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until light in color and fluffy.  You can do this by hand or with a hand mixer. 

Temper the eggs: Gradually, and while constantly whisking, add a small amount of the warm milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture. This step is crucial to prevent the eggs from curdling when you add them to the hot milk. Add the remaining milk to the egg mixture while whisking.

Cook the Custard:  Cook the custard over low heat, constant stirring with a wooden spoon. Be patient, and continue to cook until the hot cream thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This should take about 5 minutes. Do not boil!

Strain and Cool: Remove the saucepan from the heat and strain the custard through a fine mesh strainer to remove any bits of cooked egg or the vanilla bean, if used. And pour it into the prepared bowl set on the ice bath. Add the vanilla paste or extract and stir for a few minutes while the cream cools. 

Things to keep in mind:

Vanilla Selection: While a vanilla bean provides the most intense and authentic flavor, high-quality pure vanilla extract is a great alternative if you don't have a vanilla bean on hand.

Temperature Control: When heating the milk, keep it at a low temperature to avoid curdling the eggs. Patience is key here.

Consistency: To test if the custard is ready, dip a spoon into it, and if it coats the back of the spoon and leaves a clear path when you run your finger through it, you're good to go.

Cool Gradually: Place the saucepan in an ice bath or transfer the Creme Anglaise to a separate container before refrigerating. This will help it cool gradually and prevent curdling.

Storage: in the refrigerator in a sealed airtight container, or cover with plastic wrap, until ready to use for up to 3-4 days. 

Other Italian dessert recipes you might like:

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