Vanilla sauce has always been a huge favorite of mine. When I was growing up, both my mother and aunt would make an Amana communal kitchen recipe of a cornstarch-based, molded chocolate pudding floating in a deep pool of vanilla sauce. I remember how I would eat bowl after bowl of this dessert, always making sure the proportions favored the sauce.
My love of this combination hasn't waivered over the years; all that's changed is the way that I serve it at home. When I make vanilla sauce now, I will most likely place a slice of flourless chocolate cake in its midst. A mixture of eggs, whole milk, sugar, and vanilla, the sauce (a.k.a. Crème Anglaise) is thickened slightly over low heat creating a rich, pale yellow, pourable custard.
In addition to being just fine on its own or served with cake to soak up its vanilla-infused creaminess, Crème Anglaise is an irresistible combination in the spring with fresh berries or roasted rhubarb.
This recipe for Fallen Chocolate-Orange Cupcakes is a departure from the 9-inch chocolate cake I usually make to serve with my Crème Anglaise. If you prefer a moister cupcake, bake on the low end of the recommended oven time. Personally, I like a drier cake. Either way, you get a nice little crater in these fallen cakes that begs to be filled with fruit.
adapted recipe by Sara Foster | Bon Appétit, November 2007
• 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter
• 4 large eggs, separated
• 1 cup sugar, divided
• 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
• 1 tablespoon Grand Marnier, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Place almonds in processor. Pulse until the nuts are coarsely ground.
2. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. Microwave chocolate and butter in small bowl on high 30 seconds; stir. Microwave until almost melted, about 30 seconds longer. Stir to combine. Cool chocolate mixture until barely lukewarm but still liquid, about 5 minutes. Whisk egg yolks and 3/4 cup sugar in large bowl until blended. Mix in orange peel, Grand Marnier (if using), ground almonds, and chocolate mixture.
3. Using electric mixer, beat egg whites and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in another large bowl until mixture is thick and glossy and peaks form. Fold egg-white mixture into chocolate mixture in 3 additions. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (about 1/3 cup batter in each). Bake until edges are firm and tops are cracked all over, about 16 minutes for very soft cake or about 25 minutes for firmer cake.
recipe from Regan Daley | In The Sweet Kitchen
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
• 1 vanilla bean
• 6 large egg yolks
1. In a medium-sized heavy saucepan, combine the milk and 1/4 cup sugar. Split the vanilla bean down the center and scrape out the seeds with the point of a sharp knife. Add the seeds and the vanilla bean to the milk. Bring the mixture just to a boil over medium heat. Remove from the heat and set aside for 5 minutes. During this time, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Using a ladle, start adding the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks whisking constantly, until all of the milk has been incorporated into the yolks.
2. Rinse out the saucepan used to scald the milk. DO NOT dry out the pan. Leaving a film of water will keep the custard from burning to the bottom of the saucepan. Return the custard mixture to the pan and turn the heat to medium-low. Use a wooden spoon to stir the mixture constantly. If the burner is too hot, you will scramble the eggs. Take your time and do it slowly. Stir the mixture until the mixture coats the back of the wooden spoon. This can take at least 7 minutes. Turn off the heat and immediately pour the custard sauce through a mesh sieve into a medium-sized bowl. Discard the vanilla bean and place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the sauce. Cut several little slashes into the plastic to allow steam to escape. Once the mixture has cooled to lukewarm, transfer the bowl to the refrigerator to chill for at least 2 hours and up to 4 days.
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