The dessert I made for Conor and the wife was PutneyFarm’s chocolate-packed brownies, and to make it even more special I made some crème anglaise to turn it into something that looked like a plated dessert. Crème Anglaise is the French name for vanilla sauce, which should of course be made from scratch using a good-quality vanilla bean. Good vanilla beans are fragrant and sticky. Stay away from the dried out sorry excuses for vanilla beans that are often sold at supermarkets, although those are still better than using synthetic vanilla. Synthetic vanilla contains only the most prominent compound called vanillin, and tastes boring compared to natural vanilla. If you can’t get good vanilla beans, pure vanilla extract (which is made from vanilla beans) is a good substitute.
The photo also shows the perfect wine pairing for most chocolate desserts: sweet sherry from Pedro Ximenez grapes. It also goes well with the vanilla sauce.
Crème anglaise can be served with chocolate cake or brownies, but also with fruits or other desserts.
25 grams (2 Tbsp) sugar
2 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean (substitute with 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla bean and add to the cream.
Cover the crème anglaise with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic down onto the cream, to prevent a skin from forming. Store in the refrigerator if not using straight away. The crème anglaise can be served cold, at room temperature, or warm (again do not let it boil).