Bold Baking Basics, Homemade Ingredients

Foolproof Creme Anglaise (Classic Vanilla Custard Sauce)

4.72 from 70 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. 

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. 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

4.72 from 70 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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Silvia Zapata
Silvia Zapata
8 months ago

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

Daisy
Daisy
10 months ago

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

Anne
Anne
9 days 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

bold baker
bold baker
1 month ago

hello gemma can u pls also send a recipe on creme patisserie and creme diplomat as well.

Val
Val
1 month ago

Absolutely delicious! So creamy and so delicate!

Melody Carnell
Melody Carnell
1 month ago

Hello, I’ve been making a Ruth’s Chris copy cat recipe that only calls for heavy cream. Is there a difference in taste between using all heavy cream or half and half as you did here? Also, how can I make this a bit thicker, or is that a custard recipe I’m thinking of? Would like it a bit thicker but keep the same taste. Sorry, last thing, if I don’t have vanilla beans, how much vanilla extract do i use? Thanks!! Getting ready to make your recipe right now!

Jean Conley
Jean Conley
2 months ago

This was perfect on Maine Blueberry bread pudding. Thank you

Adam
Adam
3 months ago

Great recipe! A great trick is to cook it in the sous vide. I brought all the ingredients to room temperature and mixed well so the sugar dissolved. I poured it into a heavy plastic freezer bad and placed in the sous vide for an hour. Every 15 minutes or so I squished the bag several times to mix the crème anglaise around. After an hour, I strained it and it was perfect! Wonderful texture and taste! Thanks again for the great recipe! Merry Christmas!

Patti Evans
Patti Evans
4 months ago

Gemma, I plan on making a fresh peach French toast bake that calls for 1/2 C heated cream drizzled on top before baking. I would like to replace the cream with your custard – will it work? It would be poured over the French bread peach and egg mixture and baked at 350 for 50 minutes.

Annie
Annie
4 months ago

Where can I buy vanilla bean?

About Us

Meet Gemma

About Us

Meet Gemma

Hi Bold Bakers! I’m Gemma Stafford, a professional chef originally from Ireland, and I want to help you bake with confidence anytime, anywhere! No matter your skills, I have you covered. Sign up for my FREE weekly emails and join millions of other Bold Bakers in the community for new recipes, baking techniques, and more every week!