Cooking the Classics: Pouring Custard (Créme Anglaise)

*Thank you so much for all the encouragement and book recommendations when I announced this new pursuit last week.*

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The first thing I ended up trying to do was Créme Anglaise, otherwise known as Pouring Custard. I like custard just fine but I am not crazy about it; in contrast The Boy probably considers it as one of the main food groups. Since he would be the only other tester of the result, the pressure was on.

I used the recipe from French cooking – Classic recipes and techniques by Vincent Boué. This books handily comes with a video cd containing step by step videos for some of the recipes. However, I felt I didn’t really need to watch a video in this case as the recipe steps looked really very simple. (Enter smug face here.) So I gathered my ingredients: eggs, milk, and sugar, and got started.

It was all well and good until I remembered that I meant to prepare a bowl of ice water to cool my custard in and hadn’t. At that point I was supposed to continuously stir the custard, or as is says in the book “make figures of 8 with the spoon”, to keep it from crossing over into scrambled egg territory. So in several 10 second-long breaks from stirring I darted around my kitchen and prepared the ice bath. Thankfully, the custard was not ruined; in fact, when I got back to stirring, it coated the back of a spoon just like the book said so I promptly removed it and stuck the pan in the ice bath.

So yes, it is a very straight-forward process but I think timing is really important in this recipe. I suspect that a few seconds more on the heat would be enough to ruin the custard, which means I shouldn’t laugh at contestants on The Great British Bake-Off when they have to make more than one attempts to get it right.

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I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my custard. I had been craving pears for a few weeks and this recipe for a pear crumble seemed so good. Crumbles are always very easy to make and so satisfying to have on cold autumn days. This one turned out really great. The pears were beautifully cooked and soft but not mushy and the topping is just perfect. I don’t think I had made a crumble topping with oats before, they add such a lovely texture to it. I think it’s my favourite crumble!

We warmed the custard and poured it in an extremely generous way in the bowls with the warm pear crumble. It was truly a heavenly combination and we enjoyed it whilst watching this, cosy under a wooly blanket.

Creme Anglaise: Success.

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9 thoughts on “Cooking the Classics: Pouring Custard (Créme Anglaise)

  1. joyweesemoll says:

    I’ve made lots of crumbles (we usually call them crunches, and oatmeal is standard), but never custard. I’ll have to try that!

  2. Teddyree says:

    oh yum, I make vanilla bean custard quite regularly but it’s a thick custard. Might just have to give a Créme Anglaise a go … it sounds so much more refined than calling it custard lol

  3. heatherdpear says:

    I haven’t made any sort of custard since I had to omit dairy from my diet, After reading a few posts about custard this past weekend, I’m going to have to try a none dairy version.

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