Sassafras Anglaise · GF (about four cups)
I gotta be honest here. Scientists have classified safrole, the essential oil extracted from sassafras and once used to flavor root beer in the days of yore, as a mild carcinogen.
Play with sassafras at your own discretion. Read more about the risks in my blog post here.
To make this, you’ll need to find sassafras bark (pictured above).
I found mine at the Farmers’ Market. Check your local markets or health food stores. If you find someone selling the essential oil, it is not intended for human consumption, do not use it. This recipe can only be made from organic sassafras bark, no substitutions or replacements.
12 oz cream
12 oz milk
3, 4” sticks of Sassafras bark
8 egg yolks
5 ounces sugar
5 ounces brown sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
In a medium pot, bring the milk and cream to a boil together with the sassafras. When the mixture begins to simmer, shut off the heat and cover with a lid. Steep at least one hour and up to three.
After you’ve finished steeping, whisk the yolks with the sugars and salt in a medium bowl.
Bring the milk/cream mixture back to a simmer. Once the mixture is nice and hot, shut off the heat and remove the sassafras. Use a spatula to scrape off all of the heavily flavored cream that will cling to the stick.
Now, whisk some of the hot mixture into the egg yolks, a ladle-full at a time, until the egg mixture is quite warm. Then whisk it back into the pot of cream.
Stir over medium heat until the anglaise thickens (coating the back of a spoon being the popular description of done-ness). Immediately strain into a large bowl. Cool in an ice bath and then refrigerate.
Serve this anglaise with black tea and orange poached pears for a remarkably root beer float-like flavor.
Alternately, churn it into ice cream with your ice cream maker and make the world’s most root beer-y root beer float. Directions and details here.