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phan1

Can you freeze Creme Brulee?

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Hi, I was wondering if you could freeze creme brulee and then thaw it without a bunch of liquid seeping out of it. I've read in many places that it can be done, but I'm still a bit suspicious. What I want to do is make a creme brulee filling for a pudding. To do this, I need to freeze it, put it in my pudding, and then thaw it out in the refrigerator.

I just don't want the creme brulee to weep out water as it is thawing, as it does when you freeze something like Jello. If someone could explain the science behind it, that'd be really nice. Something about the texture of creme brulee that keeps ice crystals from forming? So no ice crystals, no weeping?


Edited by phan1 (log)

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Yes, I've done it, there's no weeping. It isn't much different than a custard.

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and I'll repeat - yes. The Daring Bakers just did it last month to insert them into a yule log.

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I've done it and did get weeping. I had a chocolate 4 ways on a menu, with one of the item being a creme brulee baked in a fleximold, frozen, unmolded, placed on a chocolate disc and allowed to thaw. There was always a little juice on the sheet pan after they had thawed. So what is the secret?

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Sounds like its time for the food scientists to step in. My guess is that your dairy is different and that may have led to the problem.

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A baked custard is freeze/thaw stable (think of a cheese cake...same basic process as a creme brulee and definitely able to be frozen and thawed) There is no scientific reason why a baked egg custard should weep. On the other hand, if it is a stirred custard that uses a food starch as a thickener, freezing would cause the starch to retrograde causing the weeping.

Pastry girl the only reason I could thing of would be either you overcooked or undercooked your brulee base, the recipe may have been off or it was simply condensation from the thawing.

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Just thought of another possible reason....moisture migration.

Were the chocolate disks you placed the brulee on solid chocolate or something like a chocolate cookie? if it was solid chocolate, then never mind, but if it was a chocolate cookie or shortbread then the moisture from the brulee (which has a high water activity) would naturally want to move out of the brulee and into the low moisture environment to create a balanced system.

The reason that the freezing would not cause weeping is that in a baked custard you are dealing with coagulation of proteins causing the custard to set, it is not forming a gel matrix as is the case with a stirred custard or gelatin based dessert. When you have a gel matrix present and you freeze something, the tiny ice crystals pierce thousands of very very small holes in the the matrix and that causes the weeping (a process called syneresis....this is the principle that makes gelatin clarification possible) in protein coagulation, you dont have to worry about this.

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Sounds like its time for the food scientists to step in.  My guess is that your dairy is different and that may have led to the problem.

This was in San Francisco three years ago, so I can't blame the Himalayas this time.

The chocolate discs were tempered chocolate, if it had been a cookie it probably would have soaked into the cookie instead of weeping onto the sheet pan. Could have been condensation, or maybe my recipe was off - if I recall I added extra whole egg to make it a little firmer so it would stand up. Also everything in that restaurant was broken and we had a serious moisture problem in that reach-in & had to clean out standing water from the bottom on a regular basis...wow, I don't really want to recall too much more of that particular nightmare...but yeah maybe there were other factors.


Edited by pastrygirl (log)

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