A classic, albeit basic, vanilla custard or dessert sauce used for drizzling over cakes, bread puddings, fruits, etc.
2 1/2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 vanilla beans (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract*)
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Place a medium bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice water. Place a fine mesh strainer inside the empty bowl. Set aside.
- Combine the milk and cream in a medium-sized saucepan.
- Split the vanilla bean down the center with the tip of a paring knife and scrap out as many of the seeds as possible. Place the seeds and entire vanilla pod into the milk mixture. Bring mixture just to a boil. Remove pan from the heat. Allow the mixture to stand for at least 30 minutes allowing the vanilla bean flavor to infuse into the milk. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl beat the yolks and sugar together until the mixture has thickened and is a pale yellow color.
- Remove the vanilla bean/pod. Bring the milk mixture just back to a boil.
- Add approximately 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture to the egg mixture to temper the yolks, mixing while adding the hot milk. Then, while stirring constantly with a heat resistant spatula, add the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk/cream mixture.
- Stir mixture constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture is the consistency of heavy cream or until you can draw a line with your finger along the back of the spoon and have the mixture leave a trail. If the mixture stays separated and leaves a distinct path without the two sides running together the cream is finished.
- Immediately strain the finished cream through a fine mesh strainer into the iced bowl. *If using vanilla extract add it now. Stir occasionally until cooled. Store tightly covered for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.
Makes about 4 cups.