Friday, June 13, 2008

The Secret's Out?

I really truly need your help here... I had all the makings for a successful foray into the world of Creme Anglaise (read: yummy custard sauce to turn healthy fruits into less-than-healthy but oh-so-tasty treats)... Costco-quantity of eggs and left-over Costco-quantity of whipping cream.

Eagerly, I started the process, barely able to wait for what was sure to be delicious results... what could be better over my few remaining sweet, fresh raspberries than a smooth, creamy custard sauce!!

I beat my eggs and sugar, scalded my cream and then gently beat it into my light-yellow egg-sugar mixture, putting the entire portion over my barely simmering water stirring constantly until it thickened. Then I ran it all through a mesh sieve, stirred in my vanilla extract and said "see you soon" as I put the beautiful custard into the fridge to cool.

A few hours later, I excitedly returned to the kitchen, prepped my berries and pulled out my Creme Anglaise...

It was a beautiful dessert - that wasn't the problem. The colors were just what I was looking for. But my custard sauce was less than perfectly smooth and didn't have quite the custardy flavor that I had remembered, or at least that I was expecting.

So where did I go wrong? Or at the very least, could I have thought I was doing parts of the process correctly and messed it up?

Do you have a foolproof custard-sauce recipe different than the one I used:

4 large egg yolks, beaten
1/3 c sugar
pinch of salt
2 c heavy cream, scalded
1 tsp vanilla extract

Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Gradually beat the hot milk into the egg mixture, then place the mixing bowl over barely simmering water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken, about 8 minutes (and I did the spoon test here). Remove the sauce from the heat and pour through a mesh sieve. Stir in the vanilla and allow the sauce to cool.

I've since found other recipes online with the addition of butter towards the end (like my mom's custard) as well as a lot more vanilla (or other) flavoring... though, truth be told, I'd rather know your secret(s)!

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