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This Creme Anglaise recipe makes the best creamy, vanilla-scented sauce! Drizzle over fruit, crumbles, puddings and more.

Creme Anglaise
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Here’s a creamy dessert sauce every home cook should have in their arsenal: crème anglaise! This French sauce translates to “English cream” and it tastes like pure gold. It’s lusciously creamy, infused with vanilla and just sweet enough for adding a sparkle to treats. Pour it over fresh berries for an instant dessert, or add it to crisps and crumbles, or bread puddings to take them over the top.

Ingredients for creme anglaise

Crème anglaise is a French custard sauce that translates to “English cream.” Contrary to its name, it was not invented by the English: the French simply perceived it as part of English cuisine. It has a pourable texture and is sometimes called “pouring custard.” There are two types of custard: a cooked custard and a baked custard. Crème anglaise is the former: it’s cooked on the stovetop and has a thinner texture. A baked custard is thicker, like a crème brûlée.

The ingredients for a traditional crème anglaise are fairly standard based on the definition of this French sauce, but the amounts vary based on the chef. There are a few variations: some sauces uses only whole milk while some use a combination of whole milk and cream. You can also use either vanilla extract or a vanilla bean. The ingredients in crème anglaise are:

  • Egg yolks
  • Granulated sugar
  • Whole milk
  • Whipping cream
  • Vanilla extract or vanilla bean

Vanilla bean brings the most authentic vanilla flavor, but it’s fairly expensive. Extract is an easy substitute and still makes for a bold-flavored sauce.

Creme Anglaise

Important tool for creme anglaise: a food thermometer

It’s important to have a food thermometer when making creme anglaise. Why? The temperature of the sauce is key. If the custard is heated to over 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the eggs start to cook, which makes small bits of cooked eggs in your sauce. It’s impossible to salvage the sauce if you go too far (but you can strain out small bits of egg if you are just on the edge).

You can make the sauce without a food thermometer too: just follow the visual cues listed in the recipe below. But we highly recommend using one for best results!

Basic steps for a smooth, creamy creme anglaise

This French sauce is infamously hard to make because of the touchy nature of the temperature of the sauce. But after you’ve made it once, you’ll understand the flow of the process: it’s actually quite simple! You’ll just need to again, avoid overcooking the sauce! Here’s what to know:

  • Whisk the eggs and sugar.
  • Scald the milk by bringing it to just below simmering, or a temperature of 180°F.
  • Whisk in the egg mixture and heat for about 5 minutes until 180°F. Heat until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon, and the edges just start to form small bubbles. Be careful not to overcook!
  • Remove immediately to an ice bath. This stops the cooking process.
  • Stir in the vanilla and stir occasionally for about 10 minutes until the sauce cools and thickens even further.
Creme Anglaise

Storage tips

Once you’ve made your creme anglaise sauce, you can use it right away if you like. Creme anglaise can be served hot, cold or room temperature. We prefer it room temperature or cold for desserts, since it’s thicker when it’s cooler.

After you make the sauce, place it in a storage container with a bit of plastic wrap pressed over the surface to avoid a skin from forming. Store it for up to 5 days.

How to use creme anglaise

There are so many ways to use a creme anglaise sauce! Anything you’d top with vanilla ice cream? Try this creamy sauce instead. Here are a few ideas for how to use creme anglaise:

How do you plan to use your creme anglaise? Let us know in the comments below!

More sweet sauce recipes

Love a good dessert sauce? Here are a few more recipes to know:

This creme anglaise recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free.

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Creme Anglaise

Creme Anglaise


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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cup 1x

Description

This Creme Anglaise recipe makes the best creamy, vanilla-scented sauce! Drizzle over fruit, crumbles, puddings and more.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup whipping cream
  • 1 pinch salt
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract (or 1/2 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out)

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until frothy.
  2. Prepare a metal bowl of ice and water.
  3. Place the milk in a medium saucepan. Heat the milk until it is just below simmering and bubbles just start to form at the edges (and a food thermometer measures 180°F*). Reduce the heat and gradually pour in the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly.
  4. Switch to using a wooden spoon. Stir the mixture over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon, for about 5 minutes or until it reaches 180°F or just when it has small bubbles on the sides. Do not cook above 180°F or the eggs will start to cook! Immediately remove from the heat and strain it into a fine mesh strainer into a metal bowl (the strainer will remove any small bits of cooked eggs).
  5. Place the metal bowl over the bowl of ice and water (making sure not to splash any water). Stir in the vanilla extract. Allow it to sit over ice for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally; the sauce thickens as it cools. Transfer to a refrigerator (with plastic wrap pressed over the surface to avoid a skin from forming). Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Notes

*It’s helpful to have a food thermometer for this process to make sure you don’t overcook the creme anglaise! If you don’t have one, you can follow the visual cues: just be very careful not to overheat it.

  • Category: Essentials
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: French
  • Diet: Vegetarian

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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2 Comments

  1. Stacey Kester says:

    I just made this recipe to take my pumpkin cheesecake over the top, and Omggeeeeeee that is the most delicious thing I’ve ever had. I couldn’t stop licking the spoon, lol almost need to make a second batch to replace what I’ve drank. I thought I ruined it when I stirred it during the ice bath the bowl rocked and a tiny bit of water dripped in, but when I poured it in the container to chill it made a tiny water pocket and I was able to get rid of it with the corner of a paper towel. Great recipe!!!!!






  2. Sonja Overhiser says:

    Let us know if you have any questions!