Last Sunday, I was watching old episodes of the Great British Baking Show with a face mask on, yelling at the TV. A friend of mine is new to the show, so we were catching her up. As one of the contestants was plating their snow egg (a dessert that is inexplicably real), I reached a sort of boiling point.
“Crème anglaise is the thinnest custard! You might as well use melted ice cream!” I scoffed in a tone usually used by elderly males when shouting at formations of water droplets in the sky. The next morning, my video producer Joel sent me the following message:
Immediately, I felt a surge of warm, golden pride flow through my veins. My instincts were correct, and anyone who disagreed with my custard take would be disagreeing with the Countessa herself. This was just like the time Alton Brown sanctioned my bologna take, but better, because I value the approval of women more highly than the approval of men.
Anyway. If you are not familiar, crème anglaise is a sweet custard sauce made with egg yolk, some sort of dairy, sugar and vanilla, which are all things you find in vanilla ice cream. As Ina explains in her new book Cook Like a Pro, “Vanilla ice cream is essentially crème anglaise that’s been frozen. I reverse the process and end up with crème anglaise!” It’s very smart. And, as someone who — while in a slightly altered state — recently put some very expensive ice cream in the fridge instead of the freezer, it is also a hack that is very applicable to my life.
It should be noted, however, that you have to use good ice cream. Anything with a lot of fillers and stabilisers will melt in an unpleasant fashion, so grab Häagen-Dazs or better. Set the container in the fridge — or on the counter if you’re in a hurry — let the ice cream melt, then spoon over any dessert that calls for crème anglaise. You could use it in on a snow egg — which, again, is a thing that British people like to eat, I guess — but a warm bread pudding sounds a bit more inviting.