A couple of weeks ago, I wanted to serve something for dessert that was light and summery and delicious. Strawberry shortcake, one of my favorites, totally fit the bill, but I can never seem to get enough strawberry sauce on my strawberry shortcake. It’s not that I find it too dry, I just always want more sauce. And out of nowhere, I had this genius idea to make creme anglaise to pour all over my strawberry shortcake. After tasting one bit of juicy strawberry-covered cake drenched with a mellow, vanilla-scented custard sauce, I couldn’t understand why I haven’t always made my strawberry shortcake that way! Why isn’t this a regular thing? It is beyond amazing! It adds a wonderful new texture and flavor to an already delightful summer favorite.
The creme anglaise is really delicious all on its own too! I had a little custard sauce left after the shortcake was gone, so I poured it over a bowl of chopped strawberries. Unbelievable!
Strawberry Shortcake with Creme Anglaise
Creme Anglaise recipe from the Gourmet Cookbook
for the creme anglaise:
1/2 vanilla bean
2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
all of the other stuff:
pound cake, angel food cake, or shortcake (your choice!)
lightly sweetened whipped cream
To make the creme anglaise, begin my splitting the vanilla bean down the middle; scrape out the seeds using the tip of a paring knife. Combine the vanilla bean seeds with the half-and-half in a medium saucepan, and bring just to a boil. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar. While whisking constantly, pour the hot half-and-half into the egg mixture. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and continue heating, stirring constantly, until thickened and 175°F. Pour the sauce through a fine mesh sieve into a medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing the plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce. Refrigerate until cold.
Slice the fresh strawberries, sprinkle with about 2 teaspoons granulated sugar, and let sit for about 15 minutes. To assemble the shortcakes, slice the cake, top it with sweetened strawberries, creme anglaise, and whipped cream. Simple and delicious!