Bourbon Crème Anglaise stunning on summer fruit

Peaches and cream.  It’s a thing for a reason.  You know what else is a thing?  Peaches and bourbon.

Can we combine all three?  Oh, yes we can.

Hard to believe, the foody that I am, but I was only introduced to crème anglaise about a year ago.  After a dinner party, the host went to the kitchen to get dessert, blackberries topped with crème anglaise, a thin pourable creamy custard, heavily flavored with vanilla beans.  And even though I thought I couldn’t eat another bite after the meal, I seriously had to stop myself from licking the bowl clean.

(Seriously.  No seriously.  I may or may not have dipped my finger in the bowl and licked it.  OK, I did that. I advise people on whiskey, not manners.  Clearly.)

I don’t know about you, but peaches are one of those things… They’re either perfect, or I won’t bother eating them at all.  I’ll drink a mediocre bourbon if there are no decent bourbons in the house.  But I won’t eat a mealy, off-season, underripe peach.

Right now, at the peak of summer, peaches are everything you want them to be.  Succulent, juicy, dripping down the outside of your hand.  They’re perfect on their own.

Or almost perfect.  Because a tablespoon of bourbon crème anglaise on top of them? Yeah.  Even freaking better.  Really.

The ingredient list might give you pause.  It reads like a cardiologist’s nightmare.  But a little bit goes a long way.  Also, you’ll have egg whites leftover, so you can make yourself an egg white omelet and balance things out.

Or not.

Bourbon crème anglaise is absolutely stunning on summer fruit.  Peaches, fresh apricots, and berries. I imagine it will be equally lovely with baked apple dishes this fall and winter.  What I’m saying is… make yourself some bourbon crème anglaise.  It does have the distinct flavor of bourbon, but isn’t overwhelmingly boozy, so it’s fine for people who don’t generally drink whiskey.

But for those of us who do?  Oh yes.  You want this in your mouth.



fruitBourbon Crème Anglaise


  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • 1 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped out
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • ¼ cup bourbon


Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a small mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved and yolks lighten slightly in color.  Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, bring cream, milk, and vanilla seeds and pod to a simmer over medium heat, stirring very frequently.  As soon as the cream mixture simmers, remove it from heat.

Using a small ladle or measuring cup, very slowly add small amounts of hot cream to the egg yolk mixture, whisking while you add it in a stream.  The goal here is to very gradually increase the temperature of the eggs without accidentally scrambling them, a process called “tempering.”  I probably add a tablespoon or two of hot cream to the eggs at a time, and even then don’t just dump it in.  Let it go in a thin stream while you whisk.  Add more of the cream to the yolks, little by little, until the yolk mixture is a thin liquid, and then add yolk mixture back to the saucepan.

Heat the combined mixture over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, for several minutes until it thickens and takes on a velvety texture.  It should stick to the back of a wooden spoon, and if you run your finger across the back of the spoon, it should leave a distinct line.

Remove from heat and stir in bourbon.  Strain through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl to remove the vanilla pod and any eggs that accidentally cooked in the tempering process.

Get a spoon and scoop out anything left in the sieve and eat it.  You’re welcome.

Cover the bowl and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.  Can be made a day or two in advance.