Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Cinnamon Vanilla Custard Sauce (Creme Anglaise)

This is Cinnamon Vanilla Custard Sauce ( a variation on Creme Anglaise). 

Notice the beautiful black flecks of vanilla bean seed in it?  This is the real thing people!!!  The pod comes from an orchid (which explains why it is so expensive) and is grown only in 4 regions of the world.  Read more about vanilla here.


To use the seeds, cut the bean halfway through lengthwise, and using the BACK of a knife blade, scrape the seeds out.  Set them aside for now. We'll use them later

Don't throw the scraped pod away.  Put it into a bowl with some granulated sugar, cover it, and let it sit for a week or so.  The sugar will absorb the vanilla flavors and you will have VANILLA SUGAR.  No need to add vanilla extract when you use it.

Meanwhile, back to the sauce.......

Separate the egg yolks (save the whites to use in another recipe; more macarons maybe?). 

Put them in a bowl and add the sugar and whip with a mixer until the sugar is dissolved the the color is lemon yellow.  It should form a "ribbon" when streamed from the spoon or spatula.  Like this:

Put this mixture into a saucepan and add the cinnamon stick and the scraped vanilla pod (don't add the seeds yet).  Cook over low heat, adding the half and half slowly, until it is thick and smooth.   You should be able to run your finger over the back of the spoon or spatula and it will leave an empty trail.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of this). 

Don't let this boil.  It will curdle and break / or you'll get scrambled eggs.

Take the sauce off the heat.  Remove the cinnamon stick and vanilla pod.  Stir in the vanilla seeds and strain the sauce.  Let it cool, then refrigerate it.  It will thicken more as it cools.

Serve this with any dessert recipe.  You can also spoon it over puddings, ice cream, use it in a trifle, or moisten a cake layer.

Here's the recipe for the Dutch Apple Tart and Cinnamon Vanilla Bean Sauce (Creme Anglaise)

Dutch Apple Tart with Cinnamon Vanilla Custard Sauce

2½ C. all-purpose flour
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. unsalted butter, softened and cut up
2 egg yolks
¼ C. buttermilk

½ C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ C. unsalted butter, softened and cut up

8 (6 oz.) cooking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (9 C.)

Cinnamon Vanilla Custard Sauce:
6 large egg yolks
3 Tab. granulated sugar
2 C. half and half, scalded
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick

To make crust:
In large bowl, combine 2 ½ C. flour, 2 T. sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix well. With a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in 1 C. butter and egg yolks until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Gradually drizzle buttermilk over crumb mixture, tossing with a fork until all is moistened. Gather dough unto a ball. Flatten into a large disk shape. Press crust on bottom and halfway up sides of 9-inch spring form pan. Cover and set aside.

To make topping:
In a small bowl combine ½ C. sugar, 1/3 C. flour, and cinnamon. Mix well. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in ¼ C. butter until blended to size of peas.

To make custard sauce:
Beat yolks and sugar at high speed until thick enough to form a ribbon (about 5 minutes). Slowly beat in half and half at low speed. Pour into a saucepan. Add vanilla bean and cinnamon stick. Cook over Medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Do not boil. Strain into a bowl. Scrape vanilla bean seeds into custard. Discard cinnamon stick and vanilla pod. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of custard. Cool to room temperature, about 2 hours. Serve at once or refrigerate.

To assemble:
Preheat oven to 350° F. Pile apple slices into crust, mounding high in the center and allowing apples to extend above the crust on sides of pan. (Apples will settle during baking). Sprinkle apples evenly with topping. Place pan on baking sheet. Bake for 1 ¼ hours until topping is brown and apples in center are tender. Cool in pan set on rack. Remove sides of pan.

To serve:
Cut tart in wedges. Serve with Cinnamon Vanilla Custard Sauce.


  1. What a fabulous dessert! I'm sure this sauce makes everything taste better! Love the beautiful plate!

  2. I love custard sauce and I've use the same recipe for years now. Love the idea of using a vanilla bean!

  3. You are such a baker and cook! I'm so glad to have access to you recipes. Thanks for posting this one.

  4. Absolutly Amazing! I stumbled across your blog and fell in love with the detail and all the photos while you are cooking- Thank you so much!