(makes 3 cups)
2 C half and half
1 vanilla bean, split open and seeds removed
2 cinnamon sticks
5 egg yolks
1/3 C sugar
Combine the first three ingredients in a thick bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a slow boil and remove from the heat and let mix steep for about 15 minutes.
Combine egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and whisk until smooth ribbons are formed.
Slowly whisk the liquid mix into the yolks and sugar mix. Pull out the vanilla bean pod and cinnamon sticks.
Return this mixture to the sauce pan. Place over medium heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon. 165/170 degrees. Be careful not to curdle the mixture. Pour the mix through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the warm mixture and place it in the refrigerator until it cools and thickens more. The crème anglaise will hold for a couple of days.
If you have some left over and you have an ice cream maker…..freeze it.
Also, I encourage creativity with crème anglaise….steep fresh ginger, use instant espresso powder, good quality cocoa powder, toasted almonds, orange peel, fresh lavender, etc…just use the custard base and flavor away!