Berries and Creme Anglaise
Aug 27, 2015, Updated Nov 01, 2023
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Slightly sweet, creamy, and full of fresh fruit flavors- this easy recipe for berries and creme anglaise comes together quickly for a crowd-pleasing farm to table dessert.
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Easy Berries and Cream
One of the things I try to focus on when entertaining for a group is simple, fresh, and colorful foods that will help get the party going- and delight their senses. I also try to keep the food easy to prepare, foods will compliment the wines I am serving, and find items that can be made ahead of time, or come together in just a few minutes- like my all-time favorite dessert Berries and Creme Anglaise.
Berries and Crème Anglaise is a delightful and elegant dessert that combines the fresh, sweet flavors of assorted berries with a rich and creamy vanilla sauce. The Crème Anglaise is a luxurious French custard sauce made from sugar, egg yolks, and milk or cream, flavored with vanilla. It is cooked gently until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, resulting in a smooth, velvety texture. The sauce is then poured over a bowl of fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries, creating a contrast between the tartness of the fruit and the sweet, creamy sauce. This dessert is not only visually appealing with its vibrant colors but also offers a delightful balance of flavors and textures, making it a favorite for special occasions or a sophisticated finish to a meal.
How to make Berries and Creme Anglaise
First assemble the following ingredients:
- Heavy cream (1 cup) – The heavy cream is the base of the Crème Anglaise, providing a rich and luxurious texture to the sauce.
- Vanilla extract (2 tsp) – Derived from vanilla beans, vanilla extract imparts a sweet and aromatic flavor.
- Egg yolks (4) – Egg yolks contribute to the structure, color, and flavor of dishes, and are often used to create emulsions and thickens the sauce.
- White sugar (1/3 cup) – White sugar is dissolved into the mixture, sweetening the Crème Anglaise and balancing the tartness of the berries.
- Berries (3 cups) – A variety of fresh berries provide a burst of juicy flavor and a vibrant pop of color, contrasting wonderfully with the smooth and creamy Crème Anglaise.
Use this Method
Heat. In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges. While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
Add Eggs and Beat. Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly. Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.
Simmer. Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon. Plate berries and drizzle creme anglaise on top. Serve warm or cool (I love it cooled).
Tips and Tricks for Berries and French Cream
Crème Anglaise is a velvety, vanilla-flavored custard sauce that can elevate a wide variety of desserts. Achieving the perfect texture and flavor requires patience and attention to detail. Here are some tips and tricks to help you make a flawless Crème Anglaise:
Use High-Quality Ingredients:
Fresh Vanilla Bean: For the best flavor, use a fresh vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract. Scrape out the seeds and add them to the milk or cream for an authentic vanilla taste.
Fresh Eggs: Use fresh, high-quality egg yolks for a richer flavor and smoother texture.
Warm the Milk/Cream Gently: Heat the milk or cream with the vanilla slowly until it’s just about to simmer, but don’t let it boil.
Temper the Egg Yolks: Slowly pour a small amount of the warm milk/cream into the beaten egg yolks while whisking constantly. This helps bring the egg yolks up to temperature without cooking them, preventing curdling.
Stir Constantly: Once the egg yolks are tempered and added back to the rest of the milk/cream, stir the mixture constantly with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, making sure to reach the corners of the pan.
Strain the Sauce:
Strain Through a Fine-Mesh Sieve: To ensure a smooth and lump-free sauce, strain the Crème Anglaise through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl.
Pay Attention to Thickness:
Don’t Overcook: The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon but still pourable. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
Use the Spoon Test: Dip a spoon into the sauce, run your finger along the back of the spoon, and if the line holds its shape without the sauce running, it’s done.
Cool Quickly: To stop the cooking process and preserve the texture, place the bowl of Crème Anglaise in an ice bath immediately after straining.
Cover with Plastic Wrap: To prevent a skin from forming, press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the sauce while it cools.
Experiment with Flavors: Although vanilla is traditional, feel free to experiment with other flavors such as citrus zest, coffee, chocolate, or spices.
Practice Makes Perfect:
Be Patient and Practice: Making a perfect Crème Anglaise might take a few tries, so be patient and practice the technique.
Use Freshly Made Sauce:
Best Served Fresh: Crème Anglaise is best served fresh, but it can be refrigerated for up to 2 days. Just be sure to give it a good stir before serving to bring back its smooth texture.
Fixing Curdled Sauce: If the sauce curdles, you can try to save it by removing it from heat immediately, adding a splash of cold milk, and whisking vigorously.
You can use a variety of fresh berries such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries. A mixture of different types of berries also works well to provide a balance of flavors and colors.
While fresh berries are preferred for their texture and flavor, you can use frozen berries if fresh are not available. Ensure they are fully thawed and drained to remove excess water before serving.
Store any leftover Crème Anglaise in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Make sure to place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce to prevent a skin from forming.
Yes, you can make Crème Anglaise a day in advance and store it in the refrigerator until ready to use. Gently reheat it in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, stirring constantly until it’s smooth and pourable.
The best way to reheat Crème Anglaise is in a double boiler, stirring constantly until it is smooth and warm. Avoid overheating, as this can cause the sauce to curdle.
The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, and it should leave a clear line when you run your finger across it. The ideal cooking temperature is between 170-175°F (77-80°C).
If your Crème Anglaise curdles, you can try to save it by removing it from the heat immediately, and then whisking vigorously. Alternatively, you can pour the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.
Absolutely, feel free to experiment with other flavors such as citrus zest, coffee, or even a splash of liqueur. Just add your flavoring of choice to the milk or cream as it heats.
What to Serve with Berries and Creme Anglaise
Crème Anglaise with berries is a delightful and elegant dessert that can be paired with a variety of items to enhance the dining experience. Here are some suggestions for what to serve alongside this sweet treat:
Sponge Cake or Pound Cake:
A light, airy sponge cake or a buttery pound cake can be a perfect base for the berries and Crème Anglaise, soaking up the delicious sauce.
Serve with a side of shortbread cookies for a crunchy texture contrast.
A few pieces of biscotti can add a lovely crunch and additional flavor.
Place the berries and Crème Anglaise inside meringue nests for a sophisticated and visually impressive dessert.
Angel Food Cake:
The lightness of angel food cake pairs well with the rich Crème Anglaise and fresh berries.
Puff Pastry or Phyllo Dough Desserts:
Serve with baked puff pastry or phyllo dough desserts for an added layer of texture.
Chocolate Shavings or Drizzle:
Garnish with chocolate shavings or a drizzle of melted chocolate for a luxurious touch.
A sprig of fresh mint can add a pop of color and a refreshing flavor.
Champagne or Sparkling Wine:
Pair with a glass of champagne or sparkling wine for a celebratory touch.
Coffee or Dessert Wine:
Serve with a cup of coffee or a glass of dessert wine to complement the flavors.
Almond Slivers or Toasted Nuts:
Garnish with almond slivers or toasted nuts for an added crunch.
A sprinkle of lemon or orange zest can add a bright, zesty flavor.
A dollop of whipped cream can add an extra layer of creaminess.
Check out more of my favorite recipes here:
Berries and Creme Anglaise Recipe
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- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 3 cups fresh berries
- In a small, heavy saucepan, heat cream and vanilla until bubbles form at edges.
- While cream is heating, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until smooth.
- Slowly pour 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture into egg yolks, whisking constantly.
- Gradually add egg yolk mixture back to remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly.
- Continue to cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
- Plate berries and drizzle creme anglaise on top.
- Serve warm or cool (I love it cooled).
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Nutrition InformationYield 6 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 250Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 168mgSodium 17mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 3gSugar 17gProtein 4g
Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.