Friday, June 29, 2018

My Grandma’s Vanilla Sauce

This is my grandmother’s vanilla sauce. It is thick and luxuriant, and enhances absolutely everything with which it comes into contact. My mother and grandmother both used to use it on strawberry shortcake. When I was a kid, I didn’t much care for strawberries. So, I would crumble the shortcake, drizzle a little strawberry juice (no pieces of fruit for me), and then ladle on the vanilla sauce. It was heaven in a bowl!

I never quite learned how to make vanilla sauce, because I didn’t know the secret back then on how to keep eggs from curdling when adding them to a hot liquid. My grandmother's recipe, recently excavated from my
mother's recipe box, was little help. Aside from the list of ingredients (not in order), it provided no instruction whatsoever; reading this recipe makes me wonder how anybody could possibly make a decent vanilla sauce.

But, that's the way all of my grandmother’s recipes work. She knew how to cook, she didn’t use a recipe, and it was difficult for her to write anything down because she knew what she did, but found that it wasn’t all that easy to explain.

This afternoon, while watching the ball game (reflected in the door of the microwave over the stove), I stirred up a batch of this vanilla sauce after making a batch of strawberry scones. I figured that, in order to have the absolute ultimate strawberry shortcake, why make a plain old shortcake? I will ladle this luscious sauce over fresh strawberry-studded
strawberry scones!

Here is my grandmother's vanilla sauce recipe, deciphered. This is what I did. You can watch television reflected in the microwave, or not. It won’t make a difference either way.
My Grandma’s Vanilla Sauce

2 Tablespoons flour
1½ – 2 Tablespoons cold water
2 cups whole milk
½ cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small bowl, whisk together flour and water to form a slurry; set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together milk and sugar. Heat to a simmer, whisking occasionally. In a small, separate bowl, beat egg until well blended. Take the hot whisk from the milk mixture and whisk the egg mixture. Move the whisk back and forth between these two mixtures 3-4 times in order to temper the eggs to prevent them from curdling. Slowly pour tempered egg into the hot milk and sugar, whisking constantly. Add the slurry. Cook over medium heat until it reaches the thickness desired. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and butter. Cool.

If you prefer a more sophisticated sauce with a bit of adult refreshment added, this Whiskey Caramel Sauce can do amazing things to strawberries and shortcake!

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Thelma said...

It looks delicious. I must make the scones and the vanilla sauce. Thanks for sharing. Have a good weekend.

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing that! I've seen you mention it before and it always sounds so good. said...

This sounds delicious Pattie, and how clever of you to figure out the method using the hot whisk to temper the egg!

sandy said...

wow, enjoyed reading you AND the photoso AND I must show this recipe to my '"cook"...i mean husband.

love your blog as usual.

Coastal Bohemian said...

Hi Patti -I'm so trying this .I am a true vanilla head and I have some that I brought back from Jamaica that would make you weep.Thanks for posting at Funtastic Friday.

Amy said...

Love, love, love this vanilla sauce recipe. Thank you grandma and thank you for deciphering the recipe. Now that you mention it, I do remember my mother slowly whisking the eggs into the hot liquid, as you described. That actually brought back some fond memories. Thank you for sharing the recipe on Funtastic Friday and congratulations on being featured.