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Foolproof Creme Anglaise (Classic Vanilla Custard Sauce)

4.74 from 94 votes
My Foolproof Creme Anglaise is a sweet custard-like sauce, the name of which is French for "English cream," and my method truly is foolproof. 

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Hi Bold Bakers!

My Bold Baking Basics series is all about giving you guys the recipes and tips to bake confidently anytime, anywhere, from the ground-up like my Homemade Extracts or my most popular basics recipe for How to Make Homemade Butter .

One of the most important parts of baking is using quality ingredients. I know it can be hard to find certain staple ingredients, and classic technique-based sauces like creme anglaise can seem hard to make, but I’m here to show you just how easy it is.

My Foolproof Creme Anglaise (Classic Vanilla Custard) really is just that: foolproof. This recipe and video not only includes all the tricks to making the perfect creme anglaise, but I share a chef’s tricks on how to salvage this delicate custard if things happen to go wrong!

What desserts go with creme anglaise?

First of all, for those of you who might not have had creme anglaise, you’re probably wondering what it is and how it’s served. This sweet custard-like sauce is French for “English cream.” It’s rich in texture and the flavor is developed by cooking together sugar, egg yolks, milk, and vanilla.

[ Need to get some Vanilla Beans for my Creme Anglaise? Here you go! ]

The mixture is cooked enough to cook the egg yolks, but not too much as to keep a creamy, pourable, sauce-like texture. While this sauce may seem intimidating to make it’s so easy to master with all of my tips and tricks. I love creme anglaise served in the traditional fashion alongside a warm slice of Apple Pie, poured over my Peach and Blueberry Crisp, or generously drizzled over fresh fruit.

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What’s the best way to avoid curdling?

The crux of making creme anglaise is cooking the sauce just enough, but not too much, as there is a fine line between a thick and decadent sauce and sweet creamy scrambled eggs. Since there’s nothing worse than putting in the time and effort to prepare a recipe than having it go south, this simple creme anglaise recipe has your back.

Not only do I show you in the video how to avoid overcooking the custard, but I share one of my favorite tips for saving a curdled creme anglaise. If for some reason your custard does in fact curdle during the cooking process, it can be saved by blending the custard while still warm. I know this seems too good to be true, but this will bring your custard back together and create a smooth lump-free sauce.

Can creme anglaise be made ahead of time? How far in advance?

My recipe can be made in advance! Considering it’s the kind of thing you will always want to have on hand this is great news. Once the creme anglaise has cooled, you can store it in the fridge for 4 days.

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Is Creme Anglaise Served Hot or Cold?

The beauty of keeping this easy creme anglaise covered in the fridge is it’s always ready to roll as it can be both be served hot and cold. It can be reheated by placing it over a Bain-marie or very carefully over low heat while constantly stirring. Take care when reheating because you don’t want to ‘cook’ the eggs causing them to curdle.

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Foolproof Creme Anglaise (Classic Vanilla Custard Sauce) Recipe

4.74 from 94 votes
My Foolproof Creme Anglaise is a sweet custard-like sauce, the name of which is French for "English cream," and my method truly is foolproof. 
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 25 mins
My Foolproof Creme Anglaise is a sweet custard-like sauce, the name of which is French for "English cream," and my method truly is foolproof. 
Author: Gemma Stafford
Servings: 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (8floz/225ml) cream (any type of fresh cream will do)
  • 1 1/2 cups (12floz/340ml) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (4oz/115g) sugar, divided
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and scraped
  • 6 egg yolks

Instructions

  • In a medium heavy bottomed saucepan add the cream, milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla pod and beans
  • Simmer over medium heat until the mixture starts to bubble around the edge of the pan, for about 2 minutes, do not let it boil. Remove from the heat and let stand for 20 minutes.
  • While the cream mixture is infusing, whisk the egg yolks with remaining 1/4 cup of sugar in a medium bowl.
  • Ladle some of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture, then swiftly whisk to combine. Add another ladle of the infused milk to the eggs until the egg mixture is warm to the touch. This method is called tempering and it prevents the eggs from curdling. 
  • Pour the tempered cream and egg mixture into the remaining cream in the saucepan, then return the pan to the heat. 
  • Continue to cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the custard coats the back of a spoon, this will take about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Once the custard has thickened, remove from the heat and strain through a sieve into a medium bowl to remove any lumps and the vanilla pod. 
  • Place the custard in an ice bath to cool it down quickly and prevent overcooking. 
  • Once cooled, cover and store in the fridge in an airtight container for up 4 days. Serve with pies, crisps and cobblers. 

 

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Daisy
Daisy
2 years ago

Is there any substitute of using egg yolk? Is such a waste throwing away the egg whites….
Thank you

MamaBoos
MamaBoos
1 year ago

This was incredible and very easy! I only did a 1/2 batch. I used the other 1/2 vanilla bean in my whipped cream. I served it with a flourless chocolate torte, raspberry coulis, and vanilla bean whipped cream. My kids can’t wait for me to make it again. I had avoided making creme anglaise because it always seemed difficult, but this method really took away that fear! Thank you!

Anne
Anne
1 year ago

Hello Gemma, this looks so delicious 😊 right now I am looking for thicker sauce/custard – the kind that keeps its shape on top of a pie/crust with strawberries or so on top. I’m guessing if I use this recipe, it’ll run all over the table😛 I see suggestions for flour or cornflour in the comments, or could the milk ratio or so just be adjusted? Or if it’s another recipe I’m looking for entirely, do you know what it would be called? Translation difficulties, you see 🙂
Thank you in advance. Anne

Silvia Zapata
Silvia Zapata
2 years ago

I loved the way you explained this recipe. Thank you so much!

Dorothy
Dorothy
11 months ago

This was easy and came out perfectly. I served along side a bread pudding and it was excellent. I think I will be pouring it over everyday. Next up will be over an apple galette. Yummy!

Richard Richie
Richard Richie
2 years ago

Excellent recipe with great directions. I didn’t have a vanilla bean to use so had to use vanilla extract. The recipe came out great and it didn’t curdle.

Shela
Shela
22 days ago

First time making this kind of sauce and it came out beautifully! I used it to pour over a homemade Chocolate Cherry Nut cake, for Christmas dessert. Everyone raved about both the cake and cream sauce. Thank you for this recipe and it really was perfect!

Melanie Harel
Melanie Harel
1 month ago

Hi Gemma
I have not found fresh cream in Turkey – it’s all boxed cream. Can I use this or will it fail? What can I use if no fresh available?
Thank you

Melinda
Melinda
1 month ago

Thank you so much for this recipe! My sister made apple crumble for the holidays, and – as we can’t just buy pourable custard here in Southern California – I decided to try making my own. It was a cinch, and even though I amended the recipe to suit my tastes (and on-hand ingredients), it came out wonderfully. I halved the sugar (2 tablespoons each in the milk and egg mixtures), upped the cream content, as we only had 2% milk on hand (so 1.25 cups each cream and 2% milk) and cooked everything in a double boiler for about… Read more »

Margaret
Margaret
2 months ago

Here in Australia, we are having an early Christmas with the adult children as they head off to other states to share Christmas this year. This is the perfect recipe for our Christmas. I have made the Simplified Mincemeat Christmas Pudding. Our dear friend who will be coming to our early family Christmas and then the traditional date Christmas has just returned from Ireland having done an ancestry trek. She is thrilled I am using an Irish recipe. I will make a 6 egg pavlova and can use the left over yolks to make the cream anglaise for the pudding.… Read more »

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About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, a cookbook author, and the creator of Bigger Bolder Baking. I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere with my trusted and tested recipes and baking tips. You may have seen one of my 500+ videos on YouTube & TikTok or as a guest judge on Nailed It! on Netflix or the Best Baker in America on Food Network. No matter your skills, my Bold Baking Team & I want to be your #1 go-to baking authority.

 

Weeknight Family Favorites Chapter from the Bigger Bolder Baking Every Day Cookbook