Monday, December 6, 2010

Baby Steps in the World of Cooking : Creme Anglaise with a Strawberry Reduction

I finally came good on my plans to make this dessert. I've been planning to make it for the past 2-3 weeks but never got around to it. Then I saw a box of strawberries at the supermarket on Saturday and I knew this was my chance to make it.

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.
I did take pictures with my Blackberry but the lighting was really bad, so the pictures didn't do justice to the dish. So I'm putting pictures of what the end product would look like.

Picture courtesy:,


Moonshine said...

I feel tired when you talk about whisking!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol

It looks very tough too!!

MC aus scarlett!!! :))

Scarlett said...

@Moonshine - Yes, total MC Aus influence :)

It's not that tough. Try it. Get 'A' to do the whisking! He won't mind given that he takes 45 mins to make scrambled eggs & 4 hours to make mutton...he's used to the effort :P

And don't tell him I said any of this :P

mêlée said...

I WANT SOME of THAT!!!!! plssss
and I miss my kitchen :(

Scarlett said...

@Melee - Make it when you go home next. It's easy!

The knife said...

*Respect* as they say.

Desserts require too much hard work and I never venture there. You must put up photos though :)

So Just Ca't Get Enough is becoming quite the food blog huh :)

Scarlett said...

@The Knife - I don't know, I'm just going with the flow :)

I'm too lazy to whip out my camera, adjust the lighting & take pictures. That's your domain! Besides, it's too much effort :)

Making desserts is fun 'coz I love eating them. I badly want an oven so I can bake some heavenly cakes & pies & puddings...but I'm not able to find one :(