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One of France's great sauces is really British

Posted by Sheryl Julian  July 20, 2012 04:01 PM

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All I want for dessert these days is something cold and fruity. I spent the first part of the summer layering fruit and yogurt in little glasses. I've moved to a less austere dessert. Now it's fruit and creme Anglaise, the luscious, yolk-laden pourable sauce that makes any sweet taste better. The French sometimes call it creme a la vanille, the British call it vanilla custard sauce.

Use any small glasses (including miniature Ball jars) and layer them with fruit. Here are blueberries layered with ripe nectarines -- they taste so good this year! -- and a spoonful of stewed rhubarb.

After the creme Anglaise cooled, I poured it into the glasses and just before serving, added fresh mint leaves to the top. With a little salty-topped chocolate cookie and one of Boston Globe contributor Lisa Yockelson's feathery light blueberry cakes (below), the little fruit cups made a fine ending to my annual Bastille Day feast last weekend.


Creme Anglaise

Makes 1 1/2 cups


4 egg yolks

3 tablespoons sugar

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Extra sugar (for sprinkling)


1. Set a strainer over a bowl.

2. In another bowl with a wooden spoon, beat the yolks and sugar.

3. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the milk until it is very hot. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Pour half the milk into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Return to medium heat.

4. Cook, stirring constantly (do not leave the stove) for 3 to 4 minutes or until the custard thickens and a clear trail remains when you draw a finger across a custard-coated spoon. Do not let the mixture boil or it will curdle.

5. Immediately pour the custard through the strainer. Stir in the vanilla. Sprinkle with sugar and leave to cool. Refrigerate until cold. Sheryl Julian

About Dishing

What's cooking in the world of food.


Sheryl Julian, the Globe's Food Editor, writes regularly for the Food section.

Devra First is the Globe's food reporter and restaurant critic. Her reviews appear weekly in the Food section.

Ellen Bhang reviews Cheap Eats restaurants for the Globe and writes about wine.

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