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Variations on a cream

Custard can be made thick and thin

Ari LeVaux, More Content Now | 1/12/2018, 6 a.m.
Combine milk and cream and heat slowly with the vanilla pod. Meanwhile beat the yolks and sugar together. When milk ...
Crème Anglaise

Crème Anglaise

Makes two cups

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 3 yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2-inch section vanilla pod, split

Combine milk and cream and heat slowly with the vanilla pod. Meanwhile beat the yolks and sugar together. When milk is about to simmer, with bubbles forming on the edge of the pot, add it in a very slow, thin stream to the yolks, beating furiously the whole time with an egg beater or immersion blender. You want the yolks to heat up very slowly as the milk is incorporated. If, at this point, it doesn’t look like scrambled eggs, continue. Put the mixture back in the milk pan (sans vanilla pod) and heat very slowly, stirring often. Swirl the mixture around in the pot and look at the bottom. As soon as a layer of custard starts to build on the bottom of the pan, turn off the heat, pour into a vessel, and allow to cool. It only takes a few seconds, and is easy to overdo at this point. Alternatively, wait until it coats a spoon.

This is the thick stuff, restaurant-grade, and is meant to be poured on top of something similarly decadent. What’s amazing is this sauce would be even thicker if pure heavy cream were used. In any case, if you’re looking for something to drink, try the next recipe.

Luci’s Nog

Makes eight cups

  • 6 cups milk
  • 2 cups cream
  • 3 whole eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar (I prefer maple syrup, to taste)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Vanilla extract
  • Fresh ground nutmeg

Combine milk and cream and heat slowly with the sugar and salt. Beat the eggs. When milk is about to simmer, with bubbles forming on the edge of the pot, add it in a very slow, thin stream to the eggs, beating furiously the whole time with an egg beater or immersion blender. “Slowly a little at a time so you don’t cook your eggs,” says Luci. If, at this point, it doesn’t look like scrambled eggs, continue. Put the mixture back in the milk pan and heat very slowly, stirring often. Add vanilla and ground nutmeg to taste. When it coats a spoon, or starts to accumulate at the bottom, it’s done.

The thickness of your custard can be adjusted with the amount of egg (or yolk), and by adjusting the cream content. For something thicker, use pure heavy cream. For something lighter, you could combine the milk with almond milk or cashew milk instead of cream. You could even use pure almond or cashew milk, which will result in something thick, smooth and full.