Creme Anglaise for The Casanova Charlotte

Just a touch of this vanilla custard sauce — dripping onto each slice of The Casanova Charlotte — will taunt your guests with an incredibly golden vanilla flavor.

Creme Anglaise (pronounced “Cremmm-On-Glaze”, or just “YUM!” for short), is a creamy vanilla custard sauce that adds a high-jump to your lovely slice of The Casanova Charlotte. (AS IF the Wild Blackberry Bavarian Cream weren’t enough!) 🙂 This custard is TO SWOON FOR!

Girlfriends on a Lawn of Flower Petals Photo by Eden Bennet

Besides spooning it directly into your mouth from a silver bowl straight-up, you can also do a crazy number of things with it. Once you get the recipe down (and you WILL by following these directions 🙂 ), you’ll be dipping homemade bread slices into it for Creme Anglaise French Toast (WAY!). You can make a heavenly Creme Brulee with it. AND you might want to whip up an amazing homemade Creme Anglaise Ice Cream using this recipe — and SO MUCH MORE! Yes sir, the sky’s the limit!

It was Mardi Gras. Okay? Okay. No it wasn’t.

French for “English Cream”, the Creme Anglaise is both rich and light at the same time. Also known as crème à l’anglaise or vanilla sauce or English custard or crème française (…and on…), this “pouring custard” is made primarily today of egg yolks and sweetened cream. It is both the King AND QUEEN of dessert custards because of its complex yet delicate flavor and silky texture. The making of the sauce exemplifies kitchen lab science at it’s best, as you will soon see. For this reason, I always bring the kids into the kitchen when it’s on the stove. Science in action — with taste tests to follow!

Scalding cream, added to beating egg yolks, ROCKS the mixing bowl as it PUFFS UP to an amazing giant foamy cream. THEN, as it cooks gently on the stove, swirling under your trusty whisk, it reduces DOWN to a silky smooth cream custard right before your very eyes. (Very eyes?) Anyway. Any way you work it, the main goal is to have FUN with it and make it your go-to happiness custard for your amazing vintage desserts.

This is the 4th in the series on The Casanova Charlotte: Step 1 Homemade Ladyfingers
Step 2: Italian Genoese Sponge Cake & Wild Blackberry Frosting
Step 3: Wild Blackberry Bavarian Cream
Step 4: (You’re lookin’ at it: Creme Anglaise)
Step 5: Unmolding and Serving The Casanova Charlotte

Cream Anglaise:

You will need the following tools:
Heavy medium saucepan
Large pot
Large bowl
Electric mixer
Measuring cup(s)
Measuring spoon(s)
Small bowl (for storing unused egg whites)
Funnel and squeeze bottle (optional, for “the perfect drizzle”)

4 egg yolks from large eggs
2 cups half and half cream
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fine quality vanilla extract

Here we go…

Separate yolks into a large bowl (refrigerating egg whites for your morning eggs) and beat on high-speed for 2 minutes:
4 egg yolks from large eggs

Doesn’t look too exciting – YET !

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat on medium-low to just prior to boiling (scalding):
2 c (1 pint) half-and-half cream

While the cream is heating up, beat into the large bowl of egg yolks on high-speed for an additional 2 minutes until slightly thickened:
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 Tablespoon fine quality vanilla extract

Transfer the scalding milk from the pot to a pitcher or similar pouring device that allows for pouring hot liquids. Slowly pour the scalding half-and-half into the slowly beating egg mixture.

Using an 8-cup measuring bowl for pouring scalding milk

When the scalding milk has been fully dribbled into the slowly beating egg mixture, crank it up and beat on medium high-speed for about 1 minute.

Tip: The beating mixture will greatly enlarge in volume like a puffy science experiment.

Peek inside the bowl of foam

Pour the creamy-foamy mixture into a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until mixture thickens and reduces in volume (to just below boiling, about 2 to 5 minutes all total). Stay right with it, whisking.

You will see the custard reduce and the texture and consistency will transform, once again, right before your (very) eyes. The final mixture should be the consistency of light gravy or bechamel sauce. The moment you see this perfect thickened sauce, PULL IT ! (Too much cooking and too-high-heat could curdle it, though I’ve never seen that happen.)

Note the reduction lines in the pot

Remove from heat and WHISK every 10 minutes to cool it to room temperature and to keep it gorgeously smooth.

Okay! TASTE!! Go for it! (But leave some for the guests.) 🙂

When the sauce has cooled down, refrigerate it, layering the top of the creamy custard with plastic wrap to keep it soft. Tip: You can pour the room temperature sauce into a squeeze bottle, capped with plastic wrap, to store it — so that it is LOCKED AND LOADED for drizzling. It can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for as long as 2 weeks, but we recommend storing up to 5 days. Drizzle a bit of chilled Creme Anglaise over each slice of The Casanova Charlotte and add a few fresh berries to the top of each serving.

Oh, heck. Double the batch so you can squeeze it over your strawberry pancakes in the morning. 🙂 Here’s the sauce on our San Francisco Blueberry Cake

Creme Anglaise over our San Francisco Double Double Blueberry Cake

Next up: Catch the last post in this series on The Casanova Charlotte to see the unmolding of the cake and how it is served! And then on to more of the vintage cake world! Thank you for joining me. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Leslie Follow us on Facebook!

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