A few weeks ago, I was sharing recipe ideas with a friend and while I was going through things I wanted to test for the blog, he pointed out that ” I can never cook something normal”. I wondered what he meant by this and he said that he noticed I always add something weird into the mix : when I bake a chocolate cake, I put beetroot in it, when I make hummus, it is sweet potato hummus etc.. So I promised that for once I would publish a “normal” recipe and here it is.
So I decided I would use them to make a famous French classic that makes a wonderful addition to any cake, pie or fruit salad, a Crème Anglaise. And I can tell you I have never seen one with some many vanilla seeds in there – all from one pod only!
Sometimes it is just good to go back to basics, especially when you have very good ingredients to showcase. And it turns out I have some amazing vanilla beans coming directly from the Caribbean And more precisely Martinique (thank you Marie & Loïc) Just by the look of them you can see it they must taste wonderful, they look so fat and juicy!
Now here is the recipe
Ingredients: 500 ml whole milk (or semi-skimmed) – 3 to 4 egg yolks – 50 g caster sugar – Seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla bean – cut the vanilla bean in 2 lenghtwise with a sharp knife, then scrape the insides of the bean with the blunt part of the knife.
2. Bring the milk to the boil with the vanilla seeds, then let it cool down. In the mean time, beat the eggs and sugar together energetically for about 2 minutes.
3. Put the egg mix into a pan, on very low fire (or a bain-marie) and pour the milk over it gradually while whisking energetically until the liquid becomes homogeneous.
4. Continue to cook on very low fire, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
5. Let is cool down before serving – it will thicken some more at that stage
Tips and tricks:
The secret to a creme anglais is cannot boil – but if you miss and it starts to curdle, don’t throw your creme anglaise in the sink! You can get it back with a plunge mixer, and then go back to cooking it if not yet thick enough (usually that is not necessary).
You can jazz up your creme anglaise with a bit of alcohol. Brandy is great if you serve with a Christmas Pudding, and rum is amazing with a fruit salad.
Making creme anglaise the traditional way can take a bit of time as it cooks very slowly – but I sometimes make it in the microwave! That’s cheating really but whatever 😉 To make your creme anglaise in the microwave, reheat the milk with the vanilla seeds for 1-2 minutes in the microwave, or until warm. In the mean time beat the eggs and sugar in a bowl as in the main recipe. When the milk is warm, pour it over the eggs and whisk energetically. Then put back in the microwave for 1 mn, then stir. Repeat until you are happy with the consistency (usually once or twice). If you are really i a hurry, you can add 2 tbsp corn flour to the mix, it will thicken quicker (but then that is really cheating)