Vanilla Sauce, a thin liquid with the consistency of custard, is found all over Europe. Flavored with vanilla extract or vanilla beans, it is served warm or cold, on its own, or over fruit dishes such as Rote Grutze, all types of baked goods, even as a topping on some flavors of ice cream, as well as being the base for milk shakes, creams, mousses, ice cream and desserts.
When made to a thicker consistency it is used as a vanilla flavored filling in pastries, donuts, biscuits, a bottom layer in tarts and in layer cakes.
Sometimes known as Crème Anglaise the sauce can come out of a 'just add this' package and is also easily found in ready-made in stores, but making it at home, with an egg yolk base or thickened with cornstarch, does not take much time and the taste really has that extra 'something'.
Here are two recipes one which is thickened only with egg yolks and the other with cornstarch.
GERMAN VANILLA CUSTARD SAUCE - approx. 2.1/2 cups
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence or seeds from vanilla bean
Place milk and sugar in a saucepan and without stirring bring to a simmer
Separate the eggs yolks from the whites, save whites and whisk yolks in a bowl until well blended
Gradually add hot milk mixture, whisking constantly.
Return the mixture to saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring until sauce thickens enough to coat back of a wooden spoon.
Pass sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl, not plastic, which has been placed in a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water.
Stir in vanilla essence or seeds and whisking the custard occasionally until it has cooled.
Cover closely with wax paper or plastic wrap, this helps prevent a skin forming.
Place in refrigerator until needed. The sauce can be served chilled, or warm after heating through gently.
VANILLA SAUCE - approx. 2.1/2 cups
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Scatter cornstarch evenly over 1/2 cup of the milk and whisk until it has dissolved
Add the sugar and egg yolks and whisk well
Over a low heat bring the remaining milk and vanilla bean, if using, to a simmer in a medium saucepan
After removing the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds into the milk, and put the bean to one side. (After rinsing and drying this can be used to flavor sugar)
Whisk the egg yolk mixture gradually into the milk and vanilla mix
Whisk continuously until the sauce comes to boiling point. Now is the time to stir in the vanilla extract if you are using that instead of a bean
Strain sauce through a fine sieve into a bowl. Serve warm or allow to chill
The vanilla sauce can be prepared a day ahead, cooled, closely covered and refrigerated
To warm reheat gradually over a low temperature or using a double boiler and simmering water
Vanilla Sauce is a delicious custard sauce that is well worth trying, and which not only goes well with many things makes a great snack just on its own.
Guten Appetit!.....And which ever way you use your Vanilla Sauce - Enjoy
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