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Crème Anglaise

Ben Fink

Yield: Yields about 2 cups.

Plain vanilla is always delicious, but this dessert sauce is easy to flavor in other ways (see Variations below).


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 6 Tbs. sugar

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size per Tbs.
  • Calories (kcal) : 30
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 15
  • Fat (g): 1.5
  • Saturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 0
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 0.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 40
  • Sodium (mg): 10
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 0
  • Protein (g): 1


  • Put the milk and vanilla bean in a medium, heavy-based saucepan and bring to just below a simmer. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse, about 20 minutes.
  • Put the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and immediately whisk until pale yellow and thick enough to leave a ribbon trail when you lift the whisk.
  • Reheat the milk gently until it’s just starting to steam. Slowly pour about half of it into the yolks, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture back into the rest of the milk and cook over very low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard just begins to thicken slightly and you can trace a line across the back of the spoon. Strain into a clean bowl or pitcher; chill and serve cool.
  • Mint: Rinse and dry a small bunch of fresh mint and add it to the milk and vanilla; heat and steep for about 20 minutes, strain, and then continue with the recipe. You can also use this method to infuse the crème Anglaise with lavender, verbena, or lemon thyme
  • Coffee: Add 2 tsp. instant coffee to the milk and vanilla and then continue with the recipe.
  • Caramel: Increase the sugar to 8 Tbs. Start by putting 5 Tbs. of the sugar in a saucepan and cooking it over medium heat until caramelized, shaking frequently to prevent burning. When the sugar is dark amber and fragrant, carefully add the milk and vanilla. Stir until the caramel is dissolved. Bring to a simmer; turn off the heat and infuse 20 minutes. Continue with the recipe, using only the remaining 3 Tbs. of sugar with the egg yolks.
  • Liqueur: Add 1 to 2 Tbs. of spirits such as Grand Marnier, Amaretto, Cointreau, Armagnac, a favorite brandy, dark rum, or bourbon to the basic recipe after it has chilled. 


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