Crème Anglaise Recipe

It only takes 4 ingredients and 15 minutes to make a smooth and creamy crème anglaise from scratch. This is a great recipe to try if it's your first time making this classic French vanilla custard sauce. Serve it hot or cold to make your favorite desserts even more delicious.
↓ Recipe Never Miss A Cake
Total Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 cups

This Crème anglaise recipe (also known as “English cream”) is a sweetened vanilla sauce. Similar to pastry cream, crème anglaise is a staple for pastry chefs and is a classic French dessert sauce. Its smooth and creamy texture and rich flavor from a fresh vanilla bean pair perfectly with a chocolate soufflé, on top of fresh fruit, or to elevate any simple dessert.spoon dipped in creme anglaise

My favorite part of this crème anglaise recipe is adding the little black flecks of vanilla bean or “sparkles” as Chef Christophe calls them. Crème anglaise is often referred to as pouring custard and is fairly easy to make. Get that creamy richness without any lumps with just a few tips and tricks.

Crème Anglaise Ingredientsclose up of creme anglaise

To make crème anglaise you only need four ingredients: milk, sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Fresh vanilla beans add a special quality to this crème anglaise recipe and really make the flavor come alive. Don’t have a vanilla bean? No problem! You can substitute with 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or a high-quality vanilla extract. Nielsen Massey makes really great vanilla bean products and focuses on sustainable environmental practices.

Milk is the primary ingredient in this recipe. Some recipes use half milk and half cream, but the more traditional method calls for milk only.

Making the Crème Anglaise

  1. First, cut your vanilla bean in half lengthwise and carefully scrape the seeds out with a knife. If you don’t have fresh vanilla bean pods, you can use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead.cutting open a vanilla bean pod
  2. Add the milk, vanilla bean seeds, and the vanilla pod into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. Pro-tip: use a heavy saucepan to help prevent the milk from burning.vanilla bean pod and seeds in a saucepan with milk
  3. Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. We are not trying to boil the milk, just heat it enough to infuse it with the vanilla flavor.
  4. Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl to break them up.
  5. Add 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk to combine. This will temper the eggs just enough so that they don’t curdle when you add them to the hot milk. adding hot milk to egg mixture
  6. Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over medium-low heat.adding egg mixture into cream mixture in a saucepan
  7. Whisk the mixture constantly until it begins to gently bubble and thicken. Be very careful not to overheat the mixture. 
  8. Cook the mixture to 83°C (180°F) or “a la nappe.” When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and you can drag your finger across the center without the sauce dripping, it’s ready. I like to use an instant-read thermometer from ThermoWorks.testing the thickness of creme anglaise
  9. Strain the sauce through a fine sieve into a clean bowl to remove the vanilla fibers.straining creme anglaise
  10. Cover it with plastic wrap and make sure that the plastic wrap is touching the top of the sauce to avoid a skin forming. If you want to serve the crème anglaise hot, heat it over a bain-marie to keep it warm. Or, if you want to serve it cold, you can cool it down faster using an ice bath. This recipe will last in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.close up of creme anglaise vanilla sauce
  11. Serve it with your favorite dessert, I love crème anglaise with a homemade chocolate soufflé. creme anglaise pouring on top of chocolate souffle

FAQ

How long will crème anglaise keep in the fridge?

This crème anglaise recipe will last in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Make sure to cover it with plastic wrap covering the surface to avoid a skin developing on the top.

What does crème anglaise go with?

Crème anglaise is a great addition to pudding, soufflé, peaches, pancakes, fruit tarts, berries, cobblers, bread pudding, chocolate mousse, or really any dessert.

Do you serve crème anglaise hot or cold?

This crème anglaise recipe is very versatile and can be served either hot or cold. You can store it in the fridge and serve immediately, or gently heat it up over a bain-marie while constantly mixing. Don’t microwave or overcook the sauce, or the eggs could curdle.

Do I have to use a wooden spoon to make crème anglaise?

Some chefs believe that crème anglaise is best made with a wooden spoon. I think that a silicone spatula works just as well, but you can use a wooden spoon if you’d like. I’d avoid using a whisk for this recipe though because you don’t want to create any air bubbles.

Is crème anglaise safe to eat?

Yes, crème anglaise should be cooked to 83°C (180°F), which is the temperature of pasteurization, making the eggs safe to eat.

What is the difference between crème anglaise and custard?

Custard typically has a thicker consistency, while this crème anglaise recipe is pourable and won’t set up the same way a custard will. It translates to “English cream” and is more comparable to a vanilla sauce.

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Crème Anglaise Recipe

It only takes 4 ingredients and 15 minutes to make a smooth and creamy crème anglaise from scratch. This is a great recipe to try if it's your first time making this classic French vanilla custard sauce. Serve it hot or cold to make your favorite desserts even more delicious.
No ratings yet
Print Rate Never Miss A Cake
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 15 mins
Serves: 2 cups
Calories: 231kcal

Ingredients

Crème Anglaise

  • 250 grams whole milk
  • 60 grams egg yolks
  • 30 grams granulated sugar
  • 1 whole vanilla bean

Equipment

  • fine mesh strainer

Instructions

Making the Crème Anglaise

  • First, cut your vanilla bean in half lengthwise and carefully scrape the seeds out with a knife. If you don't have fresh vanilla bean pods, you can use 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead.
  • Add the milk, vanilla bean seeds, and the vanilla pod into a medium saucepan and cook over medium heat. Pro-tip: use a heavy saucepan to help prevent the milk from burning.
  • Bring the milk to a simmer and then remove it from the heat. We are not trying to boil the milk, just heat it enough to infuse it with the vanilla flavor.
  • Whisk the egg yolks in a large bowl to break them up.
  • Add 1/3 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, then whisk to combine. This will temper the eggs just enough so that they don't curdle when you add them to the hot milk.
  • Add the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook it over medium-low heat.
  • Whisk the mixture constantly until it begins to gently bubble and thicken. Be very careful not to overheat the mixture. 
  • Cook the mixture to 83°C (180°F) or "a la nappe." When the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and you can drag your finger across the center without the sauce dripping, it's ready. I like to use an instant-read thermometer from ThermoWorks.
  • Strain the crème anglaise through a fine sieve into a clean bowl to remove the vanilla fibers.
  • Cover it with plastic wrap and make sure that the plastic wrap is touching the top of the sauce to avoid a skin forming. If you want to serve the crème anglaise hot, heat it over a bain-marie to keep it warm. Or if you want to serve it cold, cool it down faster using an ice bath.
  • This recipe will last in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

Important Things To Note Before You Start
  1. Practice Mise en Place (everything in its place). Measure out your ingredients ahead of time and have them ready right before you start mixing to reduce the chances of accidentally leaving something out.
  2. Fresh vanilla beans add a special quality to crème Anglaise and really make the flavor come alive. Don’t have a vanilla bean? No problem! You can substitute with 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste or a high-quality vanilla extract.
  3. Milk is the primary ingredient in this recipe. Some recipes use half milk and half cream, but the more traditional method calls for milk only.

Nutrition

Serving: 57grams | Calories: 231kcal (12%) | Carbohydrates: 22g (7%) | Protein: 9g (18%) | Fat: 12g (18%) | Saturated Fat: 5g (25%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 339mg (113%) | Sodium: 62mg (3%) | Potassium: 221mg (6%) | Sugar: 21g (23%) | Vitamin A: 635IU (13%) | Calcium: 193mg (19%) | Iron: 1mg (6%)
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