Vanilla Sauce

Apple strudel with ice cream and vanilla sauce

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Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 25 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
174 Calories
6g Fat
21g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 174
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 3g 13%
Cholesterol 147mg 49%
Sodium 88mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 7g
Calcium 113mg 9%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Apple strudel and dumplings are iconic German desserts, and in Germany, they often come with vanilla sauce on top. The Germans love this sweet, custardy sauce so much they also dollop it on cake and ice cream. It's served warm or cold, depending on what you are putting it on. Germans generally use it instead of whipped cream, but sometimes they do a double topping hit and use both vanilla sauce and whipped cream. On top of whichever sweet these are paired with, it makes a triple threat of deliciousness.

It’s a thin egg custard and especially good if you make it with pure vanilla and eggs.


  • 4 egg yolks (lightly beaten)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ​ vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 2 cups milk

Steps to Make It

  1. Beat the egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla sugar if you are using that (do not add vanilla extract until later) together until the yolks are thick and pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved, about 4 minutes.

  2. Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy 2-quart saucepan and then pour over the egg yolks and sugar mixture in a thin stream, using a whisk or electric mixer to stir constantly.

  3. Pour the mixture back into pan and heat without boiling until it coats the back of a spoon.

  4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla extract if you are using it.

  5. Serve the sauce warm or cold.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of food-borne illness.


  • If you this recipe difficult to make, you might want to cook the egg yolk and milk mixture in a double boiler, which heats gently and makes it easier to heat the sauce without letting it boil. Boil 2 inches of water in the bottom pan of the double boiler and cook the custard over that, stirring constantly.
  • You might also choose to have a bowl of ice water standing by to place the saucepan in if you heat it too much and want to stop the sauce from boiling. Place the pan in the ice water if it looks like it’s curdling and stir briskly until it smooths out.
  • Alternately, you can make a sauce thickened with cornstarch.