Foodie Fridays: Creme Anglaise

We all know that the French are legendary cooks and bakers. From Jacques Pepin to Eric Ripert the French have mastered the art of cooking.

Today, I want to embark into uncharted waters. Custards. Ahh! When it comes to the sweet side of cooking I become shy. Almost paralyzed. I don’t know why custards frighten me. It could be that custards require absolute perfection from the time you start until the time you finish. Each step, from warming the milk and cream and keeping them from boiling, to whisking the eggs into the warm milk, and not letting them scramble; each of these steps must be precise.

So, in order to face my fears of French custards, I am going to attempt to tackle….Creme Anglaise. By definition it is a light pouring custard used on desserts. It is comprised of milk, egg yolks, sugar, and is usually flavoured with a vanilla bean.

In effort to not fail completely, I found this easy recipe on epicurious. Are you ready? Am I ready?

Ok. Deep breath. Here we go…….

Start by combing milk and heavy cream in a heavy saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean; add bean (if you don’t have the bean, use a teaspoon of vanilla extract because who seriously wants to pay $12 for 3 or 4 vanilla beans).

Bring milk mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.

Whisk eggs yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Next put on your big girl panties. Gradually, and I mean GRADUALLY, whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture.

Return custard to saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon; about five minutes. DO NOT BOIL. Things will get ugly if this happens, like hospital cafeteria cottage cheese ugly.

Strain sauce into bowl. This will make sure that none of the eggs that might have been scrambled do not go into your luscious custard.

Cover and chill. Pour over any dessert you like or just lick the bowl. Can be made one day ahead.

After all the build up and anxiety about whether or not I could actually make this custard, I can safely say that I have whipped my custard fear into smooth, silky, submission. No longer am I paralyzed with fear about scrambling eggs but rather I am proud to say I have a new friend.

Bon Appetit!

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of whole milk (*very important, no skim)
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 2-inch piece vanilla bean, split (*or teaspoon of vanilla extract)
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons of sugar

Directions:
Combine milk and cream in heavy medium saucepan. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean (or teaspoon of vanilla extract). Bring milk mixture to simmer. Remove from heat.

Whisk egg yolks and sugar in medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into yolk mixture. Return custard to saucepan. Stir over low heat until custard thickens and leaves path on back of spoon when finger is drawn across, about 5 minutes (do not boil). Strain sauce into bowl. Cover and chill. Can be made one day ahead).

Other Foodie Fridays:)