Vanilla Sauce

July/August 1997

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Infusing this simple custard sauce with a vanilla bean adds rich flavor. Try it on your favorite summer shortcake or fruit pie.

Vanilla Sauce

Makes: 16 servings

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  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (see Substitution Tip)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  1. Bring milk and vanilla bean almost to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat, cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
  2. Whisk eggs, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl until well combined.
  3. Reheat milk over low heat until steaming. Gradually add to egg mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to the saucepan.
  4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon, 7 to 8 minutes. Do not let sauce come to a simmer.
  5. Pour sauce through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and stir them into sauce. Cover surface with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled, about 2 hours.

Tips & Notes

  • Substitution Tip: Two teaspoons of pure vanilla extract can replace the vanilla bean; omit Step 1 and add extract at the end of cooking.


Per 2-tablespoon serving: 40 calories; 1 g fat (0 g sat, 0 g mono); 28 mg cholesterol; 6 g carbohydrates; 2 g protein; 0 g fiber; 34 mg sodium; 8 mg potassium.

Carbohydrate Servings: 1/2

Exchanges: 1/2 other carbohydrate

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