Vanilla Pouring Custard (Crème Anglaise)

(recipe, Alice Waters)


  1. 4 eggs
  2. 2 cups milk
  3. 2 Tbsp. sugar
  4. 1 segment (2 inches long) of vanilla bean


  1. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. (Reserve the whites for another purpose.) Whisk the yolks just enough to break them up.
  2. Pour the milk and sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the inside of the vanilla bean. Add the seeds and bean halves to the milk-sugar mixture.
  3. Heat the milk over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. When hot, whisk a little of the milk into the egg yolks and whisk the egg yolks into the hot milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens just enough to coat the back of a spoon. Do not let boil. Remove from heat and quickly strain into a heat-proof bowl. Serve warm or chilled.