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La Belle Cuisine - Classic Crème Anglaise

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Crème Anglaise



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La Belle Cuisine

Crème Anglaise

Dessert Circus:
Extraordinary Desserts
You Can Make at Home

by Jacques Torres, 1998, William Morrow and Co.

3 cups (25 ounces; 700 grams)

“The technique for making crème anglaise is one of the true building blocks in pastry. Variations of this technique can be found in recipes for pastry cream, Bavarian cream, and mousses. I make crème Anglaise to use as a sauce and as a
base for ice cream. The trick to making crème anglaise is now long you cook it. There is a very fine line between done and overcooked. If it’s overcooked, you’ll
end up with bits of scrambled eggs. With practice, you will learn to tell when the crème anglaise is finished by the way it moves in the pan and how it coats a
spoon. For your first attempt, you might want to use a candy thermometer and
cook the mixture to 182 degrees F (83 degrees C).
You will need to prepare an ice bath* before you begin. When the crème anglaise has finished cooking, it is important to cool it as quickly as possible; otherwise,
the mixture will retain heat and continue to cook.
In this recipe you will learn how to temper eggs. Tempering eggs means bringing the temperature of the eggs closer to the temperature of the boiled milk or cream
to which they will be added. If the eggs are not tempered, the thermal shock of
hot liquid added to cold eggs will scramble the eggs."

* Pour ice cubes into a 4-quart bowl. Generously sprinkle salt over the ice and
add water to cover the ice. Place a clean, dry 2-quart bowl in the ice bath.

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (4/5 ounces; 125 grams)
granulated sugar
7 large egg yolks
2 cups + 1 tablespoon (17.6 ounces; 500 grams)
whole milk
1/2 cup (4 ounces; 115 grams) heavy cream
1 1/2 tablespoons (0.8 ounce; 115 grams) honey
1 vanilla bean

Pour half of the sugar into a large mixing bowl and set the remaining
sugar aside. Add the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. The mix-
ture should be thick, smooth, and homogenous.
Pour the milk, heavy cream, honey, and the remaining sugar into a non- reactive 3-quart heavy-bottomed saucepan and place it over medium-
high heat. Use a sharp knife to slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Separate the seeds from the skin by scraping the blade of the knife along
the inside of the bean. Add the seeds and the skin to the mixture and
bring to a boil. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Temper the egg mixture with the hot milk mixture by carefully pouring
about one third of the milk into the egg mixture. Whisk immediately to
keep the eggs from scrambling. Pour the tempered egg mixture into the
saucepan, place over medium heat, and cook, stirring constantly with
a heatproof rubber spatula. The liquid will begin to thicken. When it
reaches 182 degrees F (83 degrees C) and is thick enough to coat the
back of a spoon, it is finished and should be removed from the heat.
If you do not have a thermometer, you can tell that the crème anglaise
is ready by using the following method: In one quick motion, dip the
spatula into the crème anglaise and hold it horizontally in front of you.
With the tip of your finger, wipe a clean line down the center of the
spatula. If the trail keeps its shape, the crème anglaise is ready. If the
trail fills with liquid, cook it for another minute and repeat the test.
The objective is to remove the crème anglaise from the heat just
it boils.

If the crème anglaise boils, the egg yolks will scramble. If this happens,
you can still use the mixture as an ice cream base if you blend it with
an immersion blender, food processor, or a blender; you need a blade
to liquefy the scrambled egg pieces. You will not be able to use it as a
sauce, because once the eggs are scrambled, they lose their ability to
hold a sauce together.

Strain the crème anglaise through a chinois or fine-mesh sieve into the
bowl placed in the ice bath, to remove the vanilla bean and any cooked
egg. Stir occasionally to allow the crème anglaise to cool evenly. Once it
has cooled completely, pour it into a clean container. Place plastic wrap
directly on top of the crème anglaise to prevent a skin from forming and
store in the refrigerator for up to three days.

Variation:  It is very easy to flavor crème anglaise. Just add a tablespoon (more or less to taste) of any flavored liqueur, coffee extract, or nut paste
at any stage in the recipe. I recommend that you add your flavoring when
the crème anglaise has finished cooking. You can divide it into smaller portions and flavor each differently.

[Note] As in an ice bath, salt blocks the temperature exchange between two
objects of different temperatures (e.g., water and ice). When two objects of
different temperatures come together, the colder one becomes warmer. Ice is
colder than water. The addition of salt inverts that catalytic effect. When you
pour salt over ice and water, the water becomes colder.

Featured Archive Recipes:
Chocolate Sauce (Jacques Torres)
Chocolate Soup (Jacques Torres)
Seven Scrumptious Chocolate Sauces
Soft Chocolate Caramels (Jacques Torres)

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