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Vanilla Mousseline

Like licking the inside of a cloud . . .

About 1½ cups


15 minutes to prepare the sauce, plus at least 1 hour of chilling


Silkier than whipped cream, lighter than custard, vanilla mousseline is pretty much all things to all desserts. Of course, it is intended to be spooned on steamed pudding. But plain ole pie loves it, too.

equipment mise en place

For this recipe, you will need a stand mixer with a whisk attachment or a handheld mixer, a heatproof mixing bowl if using a handheld mixer, a whisk, and a rubber spatula.

    • 1
      large egg
    • 1.75
      ounces (¼ cup) sugar
    • 2
      ounces (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
    • 1
      teaspoon vanilla extract
    • Pinch of fine sea salt
    • 1
      cup cold heavy cream

    Combine the egg and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer or, if using a handheld mixer, a heatproof mixing bowl. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of simmering water. Whisk continuously until the mixture is smooth, warm, and has thickened, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the bowl from the heat and, if using a stand mixer, beat on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment or with a handheld mixer on medium-high speed, until the mixture is thick and cool, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in the melted butter a little at a time, followed by the vanilla and salt, and continue beating until the mixture is cool and fluffy. Cover the surface of the sauce with plastic wrap and chill until completely cold, at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours.


    Using a stand mixer or handheld mixer, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the base. Serve right away.

A version of this recipe by the same author, Kay Rentschler, originally appeared in the New York Times Dining Section.