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Crème Anglaise

Author: Susan Reid

This velvety sauce elevates any dessert it's paired with. The trick is to cook it just enough to thicken it, without letting it come to a full boil. This is an ideal place to use a fresh vanilla bean, since it gives the sauce the distinctive flecks that show you made it from scratch.

It's important you don't go to the stove without having your strainer and ice bath set up and ready; when it's time to stop the cooking process, you have to do so right away.

At a glance

2 1/2 cups sauce
Nutrition information


Choose your measure:

  • 2 cups whole milk or half & half, divided
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large (1/2 cup) egg yolks


  1. Before you start, set up a strainer and a bowl sitting on ice next to the stove.
  2. Pour 1 1/2 cups of the milk or half & half into a medium-sized saucepan with the vanilla bean, sugar, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  3. In a medium-sized heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and remaining milk. Ladle half of the hot milk into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Return the yolk mixture, to the saucepan, stirring to keep the sauce moving on the bottom of the pan. Return just barely to a simmer, checking the sauce frequently. DO NOT let it boil; if you do, yolks will curdle and the sauce will be lumpy. To test the sauce, pick up the spoon and run your finger through it. When it leaves a clean track, take the sauce off the heat.
  5. Immediately pour it through the waiting strainer over the ice bath to stop the cooking process. Scrape the pulp from inside the vanilla bean and add it to the strained sauce, if you like.
  6. Once the sauce is cool, cover and refrigerate. Use within 3 days.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size 1/4 cup, 70g
  • Servings Per Batch 10
Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories 102
  • Calories from Fat 36
  • Total Fat 4g
  • Saturated Fat 2g
  • Trans Fat 0g
  • Cholesterol 131mg
  • Sodium 141mg
  • Total Carbohydrate 13g
  • Dietary Fiber 0g
  • Sugars 12g
  • Protein 3g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.