We tend to use a lot of crÃ¨me anglaise around here, usually as a base for ice cream, and we like to make our crÃ¨me anglaise sous-vide because itâ€™s a much easier process (see below).Â As a follow-up to our post about the effects of vacuum levels on protein texture, we decided to compare our typical sous-vide crÃ¨me anglaise to a low-temperature-cooked crÃ¨me anglaise made in a ziploc bag with as much air removed as possible.Â We followed the same circulating and chilling procedures for both and then compared the two products.
Â The sous-vide crÃ¨me anglaise won on both taste and texture.Â The Ziploc crÃ¨me anglaise had a more apparent egg taste and aroma than the sous-vide crÃ¨me anglaise.Â It also seemed to have a looser texture to it while the sous-vide version had a smoother, more velvety mouth-feel.
To answer why we cook our crÃ¨me anglaise sous-vide, weâ€™ve listed out both procedures for you to compare for yourselves.Â We could use the traditional labor and supervision-intensive method:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Scald milk & cream with vanilla and set aside
2)Â Â Â Â Â Whisk together yolks & sugar until pale (blanchir)
3)Â Â Â Â Â Temper milk & cream mixture into yolks & sugar
4)Â Â Â Â Â Return to clean pot and heat mixture until the right nappant consistency is achieved, making sure not to scramble the yolks
5)Â Â Â Â Â Strain the crÃ¨me anglaise
6)Â Â Â Â Â Chill the crÃ¨me anglaise by stirring it in a bowl over an ice bath
Or we could cook the crÃ¨me anglaise sous-vide, requiring about 5 minutes actual labor:
1)Â Â Â Â Â Blend all chilled ingredients (milk, crÃ¨me, vanilla, yolks, sugar, pinch of salt) at once in a Vita Prep (itâ€™s important that all ingredients be as cold as possible in order to suck a better vacuum on the bag, i.e., contents wonâ€™t boil as quickly)
2)Â Â Â Â Â Vacuum bag mixture (de-aerating it at the same time) and circulate in a water bath at 82Â°C for 20 minutes once it comes back up to temperature.
3)Â Â Â Â Â Squeeze bag to agitate the contents while chilling it in an ice bath.
VoilÃ , easy crÃ¨me anglaise.Â You could prep that a week in advance and just keep it in the fridge.Â In fact, we have actually kept a bag for longer just to see; it can last up to a month, but we recommend keeping it under a week.
Joan Roca recommends mashing the bag to agitate the contents, which we faithfully did without question, until one day Dave and Chef HervÃ© decided to see what would happen if we didnâ€™t.Â It turns out that if you donâ€™t agitate the contents before it chills thoroughly, it results in a clumpy crÃ¨me anglaise. It can easily be fixed after the fact by just stirring it back up, but you might as well just do it when it’s in the bag.Â You donâ€™t have to mash the contents in the hot bag and burn your hands (which we also used to do) either. Â Instead, you can just dunk it in ice water and mash the bag while submerged, but before itâ€™s cool.
Thomas Keller’s recipe says to put the bag in a circulated bath at 85Â°C and then drop the temperature down to 82Â°C. Unfortunately, we’ve known a lot of people who forget to lower the temperature… which means scrambled anglaise. We prefer to drop it in at 82Â°C and let it ride.