10 June 2009

Strawberries with crème anglaise

I love custards.  Crème brûlée.  Ice cream.  And crème anglaise.  Crème anglaise is just a runny custard sauce, good on fruit.  I got the recipe for this one from the New York Times, but shrunk it for 2:
3 tbsp chopped almonds
2 tbsp slivered almonds
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 egg yolk
strawberries for two
Toast the almonds.  This takes about 3-5 minutes in a dry pan over medium heat.  They're done when they smell great.

Add everything except the egg yolks.  Mix well, and warm up the milk/cream/sugar/toasted almond mixture.  Then slowly pour into the beaten egg yolk, while mixing vigorously.  If you're photographing it yourself, grow an extra arm:

Keep in mind, making a custard is just like making salad dressing.  You're trying to make an emulsion.  Instead of an emulsion of oil and water, it's an emulsion of cream, milk and egg yolks.  Since the egg yolk is the emulsifier, you add the liquid slowly to this.  Add it slowly and mix well, and you get an emulsified custard.  Add it too quickly, or in the wrong order, and get scrambled eggs floating in milk.  YUM!

Pour the mixture back in the pot and mix well, heating it until it thickens slightly.  A crème anglaise is much thinner than a regular custard, so it won't set up like a custard does.

When thickened, pour it through a sieve, then rizzle it on the strawberries, and garnish with toasted or untoasted almonds.  This cream sauce is delicious, easy to make, fast, and a mild, creamy addition to beautiful spring strawberries.  Thank you, New York Times.

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