Jacques Torres' Creme Anglaise
- 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
- 7 large Egg Yolks
- 2 cups Whole Milk
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Honey
- 1 Vanilla Bean
- Pour half of the sugar into a large mixing bowl and set the remaining sugar aside. Add the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. The mixture should be thick, smooth, and homogeneous.
- Pour the milk, heavy cream, honey, and the remaining sugar into a nonreactive 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Use a sharp knife to slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Separate the seeds from the skin by scraping the blade of the knife along the inside of the bean. Add the seeds and the skin to the mixture and bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
- Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk mixture by carefully pouring about one third of the milk into the egg mixture. Whisk immediately to keep the eggs from scrambling. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan, place over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof rubber spatula. The liquid will begin to thicken. When it reaches 182 degrees F (83 degrees C) and is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, it is finished and should be removed from the heat. If you do not have a thermometer, you can tell that the crème anglaise is ready by using the following method: In one quick motion, dip the spatula into the crème anglaise and hold it horizontally in front of you. With the tip of your finger, wipe a clean line down the center of the spatula. If the trail keeps its shape, the crème anglaise is ready. If the trail fills with liquid, cook it for another minute and repeat the test. The objective is to remove the crème anglaise from the heat just before it boils.
- If the crème anglaise boils, the egg yolks will scramble. If this happens, you can still use the mixture as an ice cream base if you blend it with an immersion blender, food processor, or a blender; you need a blade to liquefy the scrambled egg pieces. You will not be able to use it as a sauce, because once the eggs are scrambled, they lose their ability to hold a sauce together.
- Strain the crème anglaise through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve into the bowl placed in the ice bath, to remove the vanilla bean and any cooked egg. Stir occasionally to allow the crème anglaise to cool evenly. Once it has cooled completely, pour it into a clean container. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the crème anglaise to prevent a skin from forming and store in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Variation: It is very easy to flavor crème anglaise. Just add a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of any flavored liqueur, coffee extract, or nut paste at any stage in the recipe. I recommend that you add your flavoring when the crème anglaise has finished cooking. You can divide it into smaller portions and flavor each differently.