Crème Anglaise Sauce

Crème Anglaise, or English Cream sauce is a simple sauce in terms of ingredients, but can be tricky to make. One good thing is that if you are planning a dessert, of say fresh fruit in cream sauce, you can make the Crème Anglaise one or two days in advance when you have time to patiently focus on what you’re doing. The most important part of this process is when you mix the hot cream with the egg yolks, take your time and mix slowly or else you’ll cook the eggs and have to start over. Another important part is making sure when you heat the sauce in the bain-marie, you do not let it get above 175 deg. F., which means you need a thermometer that goes up to at least 180 deg. F


  • 2 cups whole milk, or heavy cream or half & half
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pocket thermometer


  1. Mise en Place – measure and prepare you ingredient before starting
  2. Heat cream – I never use milk, mostly cream and sometimes half & half.
    1. Pour cold dairy into a sauce pan on medium low.
    2. Add half of sugar – keeps dairy from scalding
    3. Bring cream to a soft boil but do so slowly. A trick to keep the cream from sticking to the pan is rinse pan with cold water and wipe dry prior to pouring in cream.
    4. The dairy is sufficiently scalded when you start to see bubbles around the side of the pan.
  3. Prepare Bain-Marie (hot bath) – fill a pot that your cream sauce bowl can rest in (but not sink into), half way with water and heat up below boiling temperature.
  4. Mix egg yolks with remaining half of sugar – Stir well to work air into mixture but do not whip. Note: don’t mix the egg yolk and sugar too early of the sugar will suck all the moisture out of the yolks.
  5. Liaison cream with egg mixture (also called tempering) – This crucial step must be done slowly. If you mix to fast, you’ll cook the yolks and have to start over.
    1. While stirring the yolk mixture, slowly add hot cream (tablespoon at a time).
    2. Pour in another tablespoon while continuing to stir. Repeat 6 times.
    3. Slowly pour the remaining hot cream into the egg mixture while stirring.
  6. Prepare an ice bath – in a bowl larger than the sauce bowl you use to mix your egg yolks and sugar, add water and ice.
  7. Warm cream sauce in Bain-Marie – Place cream sauce bowl over pot of hot water that is not boiling.
    1. Using a spatula with constant H motions combined with swirls around edge of bowl, continuously stir.
    2. Check the pot occasionally to insure that there is still water in the pot and that it is not boiling.
    3. You will notice the cream start to thicken. The consistency you want is what chefs call Nape.
    4. Nape Test – When cream is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon without dripping.
      1. Float back of spoon on cream to coat it.
      2. Hold spoon vertically and use your finger to wipe a stripe across the back of the spoon.
      3. If done, the cream does not slide down over the stripe.
      4. This occurs when the cream is between 150 – 175 F.
  8. Remove sauce from bowl and immerse in ice bath. While stirring, add flavoring such as vanilla or almond extract.
  9. When the sauce has cooled, strain through a fine strainer.
  10. Put sauce in sealed container and store for up to three days. You can also freeze sauce to make ice cream.