Vanilla Crème Anglaise

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean

Using a paring knife, split the vanilla bean down the middle and scrape out the seeds.  In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the milk and vanilla bean (seeds and pod).  Bring the mixture to a boil, turn off the heat and let the flavors steep for 15-30 minutes.  In a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar.  Whisk together until they become pale yellow.  Before combining the 2 mixtures prepare a bowl with a fine mesh strainer over an ice bath. Have this set-up right next to the stove. Return the milk mixture to a simmer.  Slowly, while whisking constantly, temper the milk into the eggs.  Return the mixture to the sauce pot and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the corners and bottom of the pan.  Cook the mixture until it coats the back of a wooden spoon or an instant read thermometer reads 150ºF (over 165ºF the eggs will curdle).  Immediately remove the mixture from the heat and pour it through the strainer into the bowl over the ice bath.  Push the custard through the strainer with a wooden spoon or the back of a 2 oz ladle.  Stir the custard in the bowl until it is cool to the touch.  Refrigerate until ready to use.