This is really delicious on its own, but I use it mainly to serve alongside brownies, bread pudding, apple pie, berries, or poached pears. You can either make this as a thicker cream or as a sauce. I love it as a cream for berries, poached pears or brownies and as a sauce over apple pie or bread pudding. Serve chilled over warm or cool desserts or just eat it on its own as a custard.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
10 mins
cook:
10 mins
additional:
50 mins
total:
1 hr 10 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
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Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Heat 2 cups milk in a heavy saucepan over low heat until simmering, about 5 minutes.

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  • Beat remaining 1/2 cup milk and cornstarch together in a bowl using a whisk until dissolved; add sugar and egg yolks and beat until smooth. Slowly pour milk mixture into simmering milk while gently whisking the simmering milk; simmer, stirring frequently, until thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat and stir vanilla extract into sauce.

  • Pour the sauce through a wire mesh sieve into a bowl to remove any cornstarch lumps. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the sauce, ensuring the plastic wrap is touching the sauce to prevent a skin from forming; cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.

  • Move sauce to refrigerator and chill completely cold, at least 30 minutes.

Cook's Note:

Use 2 tablespoons cornstarch for a creamy texture and 1 tablespoon cornstarch for a saucy texture.

If you wanted to make the sauce but your mixture is too thick, just stir in some room temperature milk or half-and-half, a little at a time, until you have the consistency you like.

This recipe is tailored to medium sweetness. If you like things sweeter you can increase the sugar to 1/2 cup.

You can also use a vanilla bean instead of the extract. If you do that, split the bean lengthwise and put it right in the 2 cups of milk before you start heating the saucepan. When the milk is simmering, fish out the bean, scrape the vanilla seeds into the saucepan and discard the bean itself. Whisk the milk/sugar/yolks/starch mixture in at this stage. Many people prefer the more sophisticated flavor of a vanilla bean over extract, but extract turns out delicious and everyone has that in the pantry.

If you're serving this alongside another dessert, plan for a couple of tablespoons per serving. You should have enough for at least 6.

Nutrition Facts

129 calories; protein 4.2g 8% DV; carbohydrates 17.2g 6% DV; fat 4.8g 7% DV; cholesterol 78.4mg 26% DV; sodium 43.5mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition

Reviews (13)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2014
I was looking for a custard sauce like the ones I had in the pubs of London and this fits the bill! I like that it's pourable and not too sweet as well as easy to make. I thought that it needed 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch; I thought it was too thin with only one. This is a keeper! Read More
(3)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
07/21/2019
I have discovered that if you let vanilla ice cream melt at room temperature, you have vanilla sauce...just sayin... Read More
15 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 11
  • 4 star values: 1
  • 3 star values: 2
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 5 stars
12/18/2014
I was looking for a custard sauce like the ones I had in the pubs of London and this fits the bill! I like that it's pourable and not too sweet as well as easy to make. I thought that it needed 2 Tbsp. of cornstarch; I thought it was too thin with only one. This is a keeper! Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
09/03/2015
Didn t have any whole milk on hand so I used a combination of skim milk and fat-free half-and-half. I did add a bit more cornstarch as I wanted it more like a light cream rather than a runny sauce but keep in mind that it will thicken somewhat as it chills. This had no lumps was very smooth and creamy so I didn t feel the necessity to pour it through a sieve. Today just spooned it over some fresh strawberries and it was simply divine! Thanks Northstar this is a nice alternative to whipped cream and it really does add a touch of elegance to sliced fresh fruit served in a martini glass! Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
12/30/2016
Fantastic. I'm Swedish and we usually serve apple pie with vanilla sauce rather than ice cream. You can find boxed vanilla sauce easily in Sweden at the supermarket but not in the US. I've been looking for a recipe and this is it. It is wonderful cold and poured over any kind of pie berries bread pudding or even brownies and any warm sweet dessert. Thanks to the recipe submitter for adding very valuable and specific notes --- I wish everyone did that. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
08/23/2015
I tried this because others said it tasted like the custard they'd had in England. I agree! And might even say better because I used half of a vanilla bean instead of extract. I also added a pat of butter at the end. I served it with warm apple cobbler. Then guiltily ate the leftover from the carton the next day! Can't wait to make it again! Read More
(1)
Rating: 3 stars
05/21/2017
It's a nice start however... although I followed the suggestion of 2 Tbls of cornstarch the final result was still too liquid for my liking. I also found it to be rather bland. If I made this again I'd add more sugar & more vanilla. Perhaps it's my sweet tooth. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
09/15/2018
The next time I make this I will definitely use more cornstarch 2Tbsp. was not enough to suit me it was too thin. I will also amp up the flavor with extra vanilla. Read More
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Rating: 5 stars
01/21/2020
Definite hit as a vanilla flavored sauce. The second time I made it I made a lemon flavored version. I substituted pure lemon extract for the vanilla and added 1 tablespoon of lemon zest to the milk as it was heated. The zest was strained out of the final sauce. Great over pound cake and blueberries! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
06/07/2015
Good recipe. The notes on how to alter the recipe to an individual's taste are very helpful too. I added a pinch of salt to the recipe and finished the sauce with a pat of butter at the end. Served hot and garnished with wild blueberries. Read More
Rating: 1 stars
03/02/2017
Followed this recipe exactly except added 2 Tbsp of corn starch as others had suggested but I didn't have the same taste experience as others. The sauce was quite bland even after adding additional vanilla. In retrospect I should of added some additional sugar and approximately 1 tbsp of vanilla but that's to my "sweet tooth" liking. If you like a light sauce with a small hint of vanilla and sweetness then this recipe is for you.. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
07/21/2019
I have discovered that if you let vanilla ice cream melt at room temperature, you have vanilla sauce...just sayin... Read More