Espresso Creme Anglaise

Fall 2003

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Creme anglaise is a luxurious French custard sauce that is thickened with lightly cooked egg yolks. This sauce requires vigilance, but the result is well worth the effort. With a kick from instant espresso powder and crushed chocolate-covered espresso beans, this version goes well with chocolate desserts. If you perfume the custard with vanilla extract instead of coffee, you’ll have a lightened version of a classic creme anglaise—a delightful sauce for poached pears or just about any fruit.

Espresso Creme Anglaise

Makes: 1 1/2 cups, for 16 servings

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  • 1 1/2 cups 1% milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, or instant coffee
  • 1/4 cup chocolate-covered espresso beans


  1. Set a strainer over a medium bowl and have it ready by the stove. Heat milk in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring often to prevent scorching, until steaming and hot but not bubbling. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl.
  2. Gradually whisk the hot milk into the eggs. Pour the mixture back into the pan and place it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon in a figure-eight motion, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon, 4 to 6 minutes. The temperature should reach 160°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let the custard boil). Working quickly, strain the custard into the clean bowl. Whisk in instant espresso (or coffee). Cover and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 1/2 hours.
  3. Place espresso beans in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin or saucepan. Stir into the chilled sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.


Per serving: 36 calories; 1 g fat (1 g sat, 0 g mono); 40 mg cholesterol; 4 g carbohydrates; 1 g protein; 0 g fiber; 14 mg sodium; 6 mg potassium.

Exchanges: 1 1/2 Tbsp.=1/3 reduced-fat milk

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Recipe Categories

Ease of Preparation
Total Time
More than 1 hour
8 or more
Main Ingredient
Type of Dish
Sauce/Condiment, sweet
Fall 2003
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