I often make this light, thin custard when I have a glut of eggs. It is absolutely delicious on its own or as accompaniment to other desserts like meringues, fruit pies and crumbles or with poached egg whites and caramel for the traditional, iconic French sweet called île flottante.
As it uses egg yolks only, I usually make a batch of coconut macaroons with the whites. They keep well in an airtight container or I share them with a friend who loves coconut!
The recipe is from my ancient, French Tupperware Cuisine cookbook that I packed with me when I moved to the UK and which now shows its age with creases and worn pages. The recipes are divided into four sections (Printemps, Eté, Automne, Hiver), which fits perfectly with our seasonal eating lifestyle.
For the crème anglaise, I mix 4 egg yolks with 75g of caster sugar and 1-2 tsp of vanilla extract, onto which I then pour 500ml of hot milk (just boiling). I put this all back in the milk pan and over a low to medium temperature, I cook gently whilst stirring all the time as it thickens a little. It is is important that the crème does not boil or it will be too thick or even become lumpy. I remove it from the hob just before I see that it will start to boil.
I pour it in a serving dish or individual pots, depending on how I am going to serve it, before putting it in the fridge to cool. I also pop it in a jar or a bottle if we are going to use it over several days.
For the macaroons, I whip the 4 egg whites with 200g of caster sugar and a pinch of salt until it is all thick and gloopy. I then stir in 100g of desiccated coconut and mix it well.
I pour this glossy white mixture into paper muffin cases inside a muffin tray, filling about 2/3 of each case. Then I cook in the oven at 150C for about 20 minutes.
These ingredients make 10 macaroons.