English cream: what it is, how it is made and what it is used for (and 13 desserts that improve with it as a side)

Desserts

English cream is one of the basic creams of international pastry and confectionery. It is a light cream that, in its basic version, is made from a mixture of milk, sugar and egg yolk. Although it can be flavored with vanilla, chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, fruits, nuts, essences, etc.

It is the base of a multitude of sweet preparations such as mousses, ice creams and bavarois, among others. It also serves as a starting point for other traditional sweets or desserts such as custard, pastry cream and Catalan cream.

In addition to all this, English cream is used to accompany and decorate restaurant desserts. This is its most common use in countries like the United Kingdom, where there is (almost) no dessert that is not accompanied by a good drizzle of hot crème anglaise. It goes especially well with fruit-based desserts, since its sweetness balances the acidity of those.

To avoid. English cream is delicate in its preparation. Too much heat can curdle the egg yolks and cut into the cream, spoiling the result. Mixing the yolks and sugar well in advance is also not good for you, since the latter absorbs the water from the yolks, dries them and can cause lumps to appear.

How to make the perfect creme anglaise

Ingredients

For people
  • Whole milk 1 l
  • Sugar 250 g
  • Egg yolk at room temperature 8

How to make creme anglaise

Difficulty: Medium
  • Total time 25 m
  • Elaboration 5m
  • Cooking 20 m

To get the perfect crème anglaise, the first thing to do is heat the milk in a saucepan. When it starts to boil, remove from heat.

In a large container we mix the sugar with the egg yolks. We stir with a few rods until the mixture is foamy and the sugar has dissolved. At that time we add the freshly boiled milk and stir without stopping, but gently. We do it little by little so that the yolks do not curdle with the heat of the milk.

Then we pour the mixture back into the saucepan, passing through a strainer, and cook over medium-low heat. The temperature should not exceed 85ºC. During this time we stir without stopping with a wooden spoon to prevent it from sticking to the base of the saucepan.

The crème anglaise slowly builds up and is ready when it forms a thin layer on the spoon. The best way to check is to run your finger over it. If the drawing made with your finger is clean, it is time to transfer the cream to a clean container and let it cool. If the trail formed with your finger is covered again with the cream, then you have to continue cooking the mixture for a few more minutes.

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