I made a chocolate Charlotte for Christmas this year and you can’t have Charlotte without crème anglaise. Not that you should need an excuse for it. It’s delicious and works wonders with most desserts. It’s close enough to a thin custard and is best eaten cold.
4 eggs, 60 g of sugar, 500ml of milk, 1 vanilla pod, a bit of cracked black pepper.
Mix the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Place the vanilla pod and seeds in a pan with the milk and pepper and bring to a boil. Remove the pod (you can rinse and dry it and use for vanilla sugar, there are always randoms bits of vanilla and cinnamon knocking around my sugar bowl). Then pour a little of the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously. Gradually whisk in the rest of the milk, then pour the mix into a clean pan, set over a gentle heat and whisk constantly. Do not let the custard simmer at any point or it will split and you’ll have to start from scratch. After about five minutes it will begin to thicken slightly and become the consistency of single cream (it will thicken more when it cools down). Transfer to a bowl and chill in the fridge for at least four hours. This will keep up to 5 days in an air tight jar in the fridge.
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