Can You Turn Crème Anglaise Into Ice Cream?

Crème anglaise is a versatile sauce that can be eaten by itself or along with desserts such as cakes or fruit. A combo of milk and cream, crème anglaise features egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla beans, many of the same ingredients that appear in a basic vanilla ice cream. This begs the question of if you can turn the custard into a frozen treat for your guests. After all, just like ice cream, crème anglaise can be eaten in a number of different ways.

The similarities between vanilla ice cream and crème anglaise are so apparent that chef and author Ina Garten just subs in melted vanilla ice cream instead of the custard for her shortcake sauce. As Garten wrote in "Cook Like a Pro," "Vanilla ice cream is essentially crème anglaise that's been frozen." So, with that in mind, you can indeed freeze crème anglaise to create a type of ice cream. It would likely be considered a French-style frozen custard. The French style features egg yolks that make the ice cream both richer and creamier than you might find elsewhere. However, be careful to avoid making a blunder when freezing your custard.

Tips for the ultimate crème anglaise ice cream

If you're trying to freeze your crème anglaise into ice cream, then you have to do more than just place it into the freezer. To get the well-balanced texture of ice cream, you want to use either an ice cream machine to churn the ice cream, or you want to beat the mixture manually once it's semi-frozen. Doing so will help you whip the custard into a shape that is soft but textured. Turning your custard into ice cream may be the best thing for it, as it is hard to keep crème anglaise fresh. It lasts only up to five days in the fridge, and freezing it outright will ruin its texture when it thaws. 

However, frozen crème anglaise can be instantly customizable, so you're not just left with basic vanilla if that's not your jam. Consider mixing in some fruit such as strawberries or raspberries to create a balanced frozen custard that's sweet and tart. Alternatively, you can add in chocolate, as well, for a frozen custard that's rich and creamy. Break out the syrups and whip cream and fix yourself a sundae. Just as with ice cream, you're really only limited here by your imagination.