Quick Fruit Salad with Basil and Creme Anglaise

Quick Summer Fruit Salad with Basil and Creme Anglaise
Summer is coming to a close. All I really want to do is sit down and eat the rest of the summer peaches and strawberries drowning in a sweet custard sauce white I watch the leaves change on the trees in the front yard and my kids soak up the warm afternoons with their friends. And maybe grab a good book while I’m at it. This Quick Fruit Salad with Basil and Creme Anglaise is perfect for doing just that.

I went outside the other day and noticed that my strawberries have blossomed again. Not a lot, but I saw at least a dozen or so. There were even a few red strawberries hiding under the mass of green leaves. Amazing! We had a pretty scanty harvest early in the summer due to my lack of TLC.

The rest of my garden was just as wild this year. The tomato plants are late (I let the volunteers come up instead of planting seedlings.) Two of the volunteer plants turned out to be green zebra tomatoes and they are just now ripening.  (Yay!)  My kale is growing out of control.  I found four (FOUR) leg-sized zucchini in my garden this morning.  I thought I was really good at catching all of the zucchini before it got bigger than 12″.  Apparently I’m not as attentive as I thought.  The poor carrots were planted in very rocky soil and are so hard to dig out that I’m leaving them right where they are. Most of the broccoli bolted and flowered. My fennel never got bigger than a pencil, and are mostly fronds. (I’m okay with that.) The leeks were accidentally cut down by the guy who mows the lawn.  And I can’t even face the beets that I didn’t thin very well.  I already have a gazillion beets in my fridge from the last time I pulled some up. I should go out and tend to things. It’s a happy place for me, but I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the weeds and overgrown plants. So instead, fruit salad. And I’m okay with that too.

This is a fruit salad turned dessert.  We always seems to have a little bit of extra custard hanging out in the fridge.  I can’t let it go to waste.  You don’t really need the custard.  We actually really liked the salad on its own after the custard was all gone.  The basil is really good here, but thyme or finely chopped rosemary would be delicious too.  Or leave it out all together if you like.

Enjoy the last warm days where you are too and have a good weekend. :)

Quick Fruit Salad with Basil and Creme Anglaise
Author: 
Recipe type: Salad, Dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
A refreshing summer fruit salad topped with rich creme anglaise and fresh basil.
Ingredients
  • For creme anglaise:
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup very hot milk
  • pinch salt
  • ½ tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. pure almond extract
  • For fruit salad:
  • 1 peach, peeled and diced
  • 1 nectarine, diced (or another peach)
  • 1 lb. strawberries, halved
  • 1-2 tsp. raw honey (less if the fruit is really sweet)
  • 1-2 tsp. honey wine vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract, optional (but good)
  • a small handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Instructions
  1. For creme anglaise:
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and pinch of salt until thick and pale yellow. Drizzle the hot milk into the bowl while whisking. This will temper the eggs, or slowly heat them so they don't curdle. When all of the milk has been added, pour the mixture back into the pan. Stirring constantly, cook the custard over medium heat until it starts to thicken and reaches a temperature of 170° F on an instant-read thermometer. (If you don't have a thermometer, check that it's cooked all the way by dipping a wooden spoon into the sauce. It should coat the back and you should be able to draw a finger through it.) Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl. Add the vanilla and almond extracts. Cover and chill until very cold.
  3. For fruit salad:
  4. Mix the fruit together in a serving bowl. Drizzle the honey, vinegar, and vanilla over the fruit. Add the basil leaves and gently toss. Let stand for a few minutes before serving for the juices to be released and the flavors to meld.
  5. To serve:
  6. Spoon about ¼ cup of the sauce into small serving bowls. Top with the fruit salad.
  7. The sauce can be made ahead and kept for about a week.

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