Crème Anglaise (Stove-Top Egg Custard Sauce)

Crème Anglaise

Crème Anglaise

By Cat, Jan 2015 (Photo, right, from Wikimedia Commons)

There are two types of stove-top custard:

  • Crème Anglaise: made without added starch or flour as thickener, for use as a sauce, a simple dessert, or for pie fillings; it’s thickness is controlled by the egg to milk/cream ratio;
  • Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream): One with a starchy thickener for use as a filling for eclairs, cream puffs and other desserts

See also: 1. Puddings & Frozen Desserts Menu2. Dessert Sauces, Frostings & Fillings Menu3. Crème Pâtissière

Crème Anglaise

This recipe is adapted from The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas (1; See Beloved Cookbooks for more about this cookbook), and from Epicurious (2); originally from Bon Appetite, Feb 1998). Ingredients to male 1 or 2 cups of Crème Anglais are included.

You can use all milk, or half milk and half cream. The standard proportion of yolks to milk/cream is 5 yolks for every 2 cups milk/cream; however, this will vary as the eggs vary in size. If a thicker result is desired, increase the number of yolks.


  • For 2 cups sauce
  • 2 cups whole milk, or 1 cup each whole milk and heavy cream
  • 4 – 6 egg yolks (depending on egg size and desired thickness of sauce)
  • 6 Tbsp Rapadura sugar or white cane sugar (or 1 Tbsp sugar and 1/8 tsp stevia extract powder)
  •  ½ tsp unrefined sea salt
  •  ½ tsp real vanilla extract; or one 4″ piece vanilla bean, split
  • For 1 cup sauce
  • 1 cup whole milk, or ½ cup each whole milk and heavy cream
  • 2 – 3 egg yolks (depending on egg size and desired thickness of sauce)
  • 3 Tbsp Rapadura sugar or white cane sugar (this amount of sauce it too little to use stevia)
  • ¼ tsp unrefined sea salt
  • ¼ tsp real vanilla extract; or one 2″ piece vanilla bean, split


Bain Marie on Stove Top

Bain Marie on Stove Top

(Photo, left, form Wikimedia Commons)

  • Double boiler, or 2 quart saucepan and a bowl that will rest on top of the saucepan as a bain marie
  • egg whisk or hand-held electric mixer


  1. Pour milk/cream in top of double boiler set over boiling water; if using vanilla bean, scrape its seeds into the liquid and add the bean. Scald the milk/cream (heat it until steam begins to form at the surface of the milk, but before the milk starts to bubble, about 185°F). Keep the double boiler over the heat so the milk/cream remains hot.
  2. Add salt and sweetener to egg yolks in a bowl, then beat with the whisk/mixer until fluffy.
  3. While still whisking, pour the hot milk into the yolks, then return the mixture to the double boiler. Heat it gently, not allowing it to boil. Stir it often until it thickens enough to coat a spoon, about 5 minutes.
  4. If using vanilla extract, add it now.
  5. Strain custard into a bowl. Use it warm, or place in refrigerator to chill. It can be made up to 1 day ahead of when you intend to serve it.

Assembly or Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve warm or cool over/with desserts or fresh fruit;
  • Use in the English Trifle;
  • Use as the base for creamy pie fillings, such as for banana or coconut cream (3);
  • Use as a base for ice cream (3).


  1. The Vegetarian Epicure by Anna Thomas
  2. Epicurious recipe (originally from Bon Appetite, February 1998):
  3. Joy of Baking:

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