Ice cream is grand, whipped cream an ethereal dream, but there's almost nothing I'd rather serve with apple pie than vanilla custard sauce. For one, it's unexpected. It's hard to upstage an apple pie, but a little pitcher of this, pulled from the fridge at the last moment, can create quite a stir. It’s different: A lot of people have never had it before.
And it’s delicious, like cool vanilla velvet on the tongue. Not only that, you can whip up a batch in less time than it takes to run to the store for a pint of vanilla ice cream. There’s only one important rule to remember when preparing this sauce: Don't boil it. Boiling will cause the yolks to curdle, leaving you with a pile of sweetened, semi-scrambled eggs. Here’s how I make it.
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Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Bring the light cream to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan. Gradually whisk the hot cream into the yolks, adding 1/3 cup or so at a time.
Return the mixture to the saucepan. Stir the custard over medium-low heat until it thickens enough to leave a path on the back of a wooden spoon when you draw a finger across it, about 5 minutes; do not boil.
Strain the sauce through a fine-meshed strainer into a small bowl and stir in the vanilla. Let cool to room temperature, then chill in the refrigerator until cold. This will keep for 2-3 days.