Hope all your Thanksgiving plans and menus are coming together. Every year we head to our friend’s place in Upstate New York. I can’t wait to get in the car, play some music, and escape the city. For a couple of days, we’ll blissfully cook, eat, and drink with some of our favorite people.
I’m responsible for bringing the pies. Although Thanksgiving is all about the turkey, I think the sides and pies are the best thing on the menu. When it comes to pie, America is all about à la mode, but I’m determined to bring custard on top of more pies (and cakes!), and the crème de la crème of custard is crème anglaise. Nothing is better than a luxurious custard served hot or cold on a slice of warm pie. If there’s any crème anglaise leftover, make sure you serve yourself a cheeky bowl for breakfast.
Makes: approximately 1¾ cups: enough for 6 to 8 side servings
Preparation: 15 minutes
1 ¾ cups (420ml) whole milk
4 egg yolks
⅓ cup (65g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup (40g) semisweet chocolate chips
In a heavy saucepan over low heat, gently heat the milk until little bubbles start to appear around the edge of the pan; do not boil.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch for a couple of minutes, until pale in color.
Take the milk off the heat and slowly pour it onto the egg and sugar mixture, whisking constantly. Return all of the mixture to the saucepan. On low heat, continuously stir the custard using a wooden spoon. Slowly bring the custard’s temperature up to between 175° and 180°F. This should take approximately 8-10 minutes. When cooked, crème anglaise will look silky— not thick. Remove from the heat immediately so it doesn’t continue to cook.
Add the vanilla and chocolate chips, stirring until the chocolate melts.
Pour the custard through a ﬁne mesh strainer.
Boozy Vanilla Crème Angliase: Omit the chocolate chips. Add 1 tablespoon of liqueur such as Grand Marnier or Amaretto.
Crème anglaise wants your full attention and love. It doesn’t take long to make so don’t get distracted. Instead, relax and enjoy the meditative continual stirring of the custard until it’s silky. What you’re looking for is what the French call nappè: when the custard coats the spoon, and if you run your ﬁnger over the back of it, a line should remain. By adding cornstarch it helps protect the egg yolk from overcooking and thicken the custard.