Think of crème anglaise like the ghostwriter of all your favorite desserts: It can be found in ice cream, crème brûlée, eggnog or just on top of fresh berries as a simple sweet. It shouldn't be fair that something this versatile is so easy, but NYC pastry chef Daniel Skurnick (of Le Coucou and Buddakan) proves just that. Below, he shows you exactly how to whip the sauce's four ingredients into shape.
To steep flavor into the base (i.e., a split vanilla bean, a quarter cup of crushed espresso beans, a handful of cinnamon sticks), add them to the dairy before pouring in the milk. Then continue with the recipe, but let it sit for 24 hours to meld before straining.
To learn more, read "Crème of the Crop."
Recipe adapted from Daniel Skurnick, Le Coucou, NYC
Yield: 6 to 10 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes, plus chilling time
1⅛ cups whole milk
1⅛ cups heavy cream
½ cup sugar, divided
4 egg yolks
1. In a medium pot, combine the milk and cream over medium heat. Add 90 percent of the sugar to the milk mixture and stir well. Increase the heat to high.
2. In a bowl, add the egg yolks to the remaining sugar and whisk to combine. When the milk comes to a full boil, remove from the heat and immediately pour the liquid into the eggs slowly while whisking well.
3. When all the milk has been added, immediately pour the mixture back into the original pot, off the heat. Stir for 5 seconds, then transfer to a container over ice. Cool. Strain as needed, then serve however desired.