Culinary Arts

Chef Thomas Keller’s Crème Anglaise Recipe

Written by MasterClass

Apr 17, 2019 • 1 min read

Crème anglaise is one of Chef Keller’s favorite dessert sauces. Here he makes a traditional vanilla anglaise, though he notes that you can flavor the crème any way you want. Gently cooked egg yolks and sugar form a custard, which binds the crème anglaise.

Chef Keller demonstrates a technique called “tempering”—slowly bringing the egg yolks up to temperature in the custard without cooking them. This technique should prevent curdling. But if your crème anglaise does curdle, you can recover it by putting it in a blender. Watch Chef Keller make his crème anglaise here.

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Chef Thomas Keller’s Crème Anglaise Recipe

Ingredient Checklist

  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 500 grams cream
  • 500 grams milk
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 10 egg yolks
  • Kosher salt

Equipment

  • Cutting board
  • Paring knife
  • 2-quart saucier
  • Ladle
  • Rubber spatula
  • Whisk
  • Mixing bowl
  • Ice bath
  • Flat-bottom wooden spoon
  • Thermometer
  • Chinois
  1. Combine milk, cream, and the scraped vanilla bean and pod in a saucepot over medium-low heat and gently stir with rubber spatula. Bring to a simmer. Place the yolks in a mixing bowl, beat them until they are homogenous. Add sugar and a pinch of kosher salt and whisk until the mixture is combined.
  2. To begin the tempering process, gradually ladle the hot milk and cream mixture into the mixing bowl one ladle at a time while whisking continuously. The aim is to gradually heat the egg yolks to the temperature of the warm milk and cream so as not to curdle the eggs. When the temperature of the yolks is similar to the temperature of the milk and cream (after about 4 ladlefuls), whisk the contents of the mixing bowl into the saucepot with the remaining vanilla cream. Swap your whisk for a flat-bottom wooden spoon and continue to stir as you cook to 185°F. The crème anglaise will be thickened and should coat the back of a spoon. Test by swiping your finger across the back of the coated spoon. If the sauce is thickened, the swipe should remain and not be filled in by runny sauce.
  3. Strain the crème anglaise through a chinois into a mixing bowl resting in an ice bath. Remove the vanilla pod and set aside for future use. Whisk to help cool to room temperature. Once cooled and thickened, your dessert sauce is ready.

Note: Once you’ve used a vanilla bean pod to flavor a crème anglaise, you can clean it and dry it for another use. For example, you could put it in your sugar to give your sugar a light vanilla aroma. Learn more about vanilla beans in our complete guide here.