How to make a Crème Anglaise

Bowl of homemade vanilla custard (creme anglaise) on blue background. Top view. Copyspace.
Copyright: chandlervid85

The crème anglaise is a thin light custard sauce which is ideal for all types of dessert and pastries. It is not as thick as crème patissèrie. This custard sauce is a warm blend of cream with egg yolks and sugar which is heated until it becomes a light liquid. In other forms the cream is replaced with milk which often needs to be thickened. Vanilla is always the flavour of choice but such a sauce can be enhanced with liqueurs, coffee and chocolate.

There is a version of crème anglaise using white chocolate which is fabulous with crepes and sweet desserts like frangipane tarts.

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  • 250 ml heavy or double cream
  • 50ml full cream milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 10 ml vanilla extract
  • 65 g white or caster sugar

Preparation Of A Crème Anglaise:

  1. To a small, heavy bottomed saucepan, add the cream, milk and vanilla extract. Heat gently to simmer until bubbles form at the edges of the cream.
  2. Remove from the pan and whisk or beat together the egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
  3. Slowly pour about a ½ cup of this hot cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. The mixture should now be a pale yellow colour. The addition of the hot cream mixture helps to warm the egg yolks up so that they do not scramble when added back to the rest of the cream in the pan.
  4. Add the cream and yolk mix into the saucepan and start to simmer again.
  5. Continue to simmer gently, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. It takes between 7 and 10 minutes. DO NOT ALLOW TO BOIL as it will scramble the mixture.  The custard is ready when having dipped the spoon you run your finger across it. If you get a clean line and no dribbles, the eggs have been mixed in and the custard is ready.
  6. Strain this custard through a sieve into a jug or container for serving.

If you want to keep for later, cover the jug with clingfilm and make sure that film contacts the surface because it stops a skin forming on top which is never attractive.

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