One evening while finishing dinner, my roommate, feeling cheeky, pulled my Mastering the Art of French Cooking from my bookshelf and said, "You will make the thing that is on the page I open." He then closed his eyes and turned to page 588 - Creme Anglaise.
The recipe looked easy enough, but I didn't even know what a creme anglaise was supposed to look like. I didn't let that bother me and just went on anyway. A creme anglaise is a light custard sauce apparently. Beat 4 egg yolks and a half cup of sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Pour, very slowly and gradually, 1 and 3/4 cup of near boiling milk into the egg and sugar mixture. Do not pour too quickly or you will cook your eggs. That would be gross. This photo is blurry because I was accidentally pouring hot milk on my foot. The things I do for food and friends!
Return this mixture to the stove on a very low heat setting. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the mixture thickens.
You can tell when it's done because it turns a darker shade of yellow and coats the back of a spoon well.
Important: strain the custard through a fine sieve just in case you cooked your eggs. (I did a little bit.) I'm so glad I strained it. No one wants eggy chunks in their custard. Now is the time to flavor your custard. Julia suggests 1 Tbsp of vanilla extract (I used 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste.) or 1 tsp of vanilla extract AND 1 Tbsp of rum, kirsch, cognac, flavored liqueur, or instant coffee.