Creme Anglaise, or English Cream, is an English custard made with milk & eggs. In theory, it sounds easy. Milk, egg yolk, sugar, vanilla essence. How tough can it be?
Well, I wouldn't say it's tought but it's quite labor intensive b/c you're adding hot milk to egg yolks and then cooking the mixture directly over heat, so there's a very good chance your eggs will scramble and you'll end up with scrambled egg in milk! Yuck!
So what do you do to prevent the eggs from scrambling? You whisk...and whisk...and whisk...
Don't let this put you off though. It's a yummy dessert. So here's the recipe for Creme Anglaise with a Strawberry Reduction.
For Creme Anglaise:
Milk - 200 ml
Egg yolk - 2
Sugar - 2-3 tbsp depending on how sweet you like your custard
Vanilla essence - 2 tsp (It would be ideal to use vanilla bean or pure vanilla extract but they're not readily available in every city, so vanilla essence will do)
For the Strawberry Reduction:
Strawberries - 100 gm
Sugar - 1 tbsp
- Boil the milk. On the other hand, whisk the egg yolks till they are light yellow in color. The bad news is you can't use an electric whisker b/c you don't want to get too much air in, so this must be done by hand. And it takes a while.
- While whisking, keep mixing in the sugar. I used powdered sugar so it's easier to dissolve.
- Once the egg yolks are light yellow in color, start adding the milk bit by bit to the egg & sugar mixture. Keep whisking with the other hand b/c the milk is hot and you don't want the eggs to scramble.
- Once you've added in all the milk, put the mixture on low heat and cook while stirring continuously (again to prevent the eggs from scrambling). The idea is to cook the mixture till it reaches the desired consistency without bringing it to a boil. Technically, the temperature should be between 75-80 celsius. You can keep a tab on the temperature with a food thermometer if you have one. I don't, so I just stayed alert. A sign your mixture has gotten too hot is if it starts sputtering at the bottom. If that happens, remove the mixture from the gas and stir for a few minutes to let the excess heat out. Then replace on gas and cook till it reaches the desired consistency. REMEMBER, DO NOT LET YOUR CUSTARD BOIL.
- A way to test that your custard is done is to run a finger down the back of the spoon with which you've been stirring. It should leave a clean line (ie. the custard should not be runny).
- For the strawberry reduction, chop the strawberries into small pieces. Add the sugar in 2-3 tbsp water and heat it on the gas till the sugar dissolves. Add the strawberries and cook for 2-3 mins, stirring continuously. You will get this lovely thick strawberry sauce with small chunks of strawberries. 2-3 mins would be enough as strawberries soften easily.
- Pour the custard on to a slice of pound cake or chocolate cake if you like the combination of chocolate & strawberry. Garnish with a generous helping of the strawberry sauce.
Picture courtesy: http://www.recipetips.com/, http://myrecipes.com/