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Some troubles with the basic creme anglaise recipe...


phan1
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OK, the basic custard recipe, no matter the ratio, isn't very difficult. But I do have one problem...

Lots of recipes tell you to beat the egg yolks and sugar so that they're lighter in color and form ribbons. Then, you can add your milk and cook it until you get your napee consistency. The problem I have with this is that my custard gets very foamy since I beat the yolks and sugar together before adding in the milk. The incorporated air from beating the yolks and sugar will make my custard very foamy at the top, which messes up the consistency of the sauce.

Well, the obvious solution is just to not beat the eggs and sugar together of course! Just add the yolks and sugar directly to the milk and heat it up! But it just bugged me that this step is so prevalent in recipes, and I was wondering if other people have had success doing it this way. Maybe I'm not beating my yolks and sugar far enough? Maybe this step found it's way into creme anglaise recipes because beating yolks and sugar is such a common technique for cakes and pastries?

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Hi,

I usually whisk the egg yolks and sugar only about a minute to pale yellow. They do not become foamy.

The milk is heated separately. You then temper the eggs by adding a small portion of the hot milk to the eggs; this will normally knock down any foam in the eggs. The eggs are then returned to the milk and cooked to 175 degrees. The foam disappears as the mix becomes fully cooked.

I hope this helps.

Tim

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There was a similar thread about whipping the eggs and sugar for ice cream several months ago. I believe we finally decided that the whipping was not necessary. Even if that wasn't what we decided, that is what I strongly believe! :smile: Why whip in bubbles if the heat is just going to pop them, or they are all going to rise to the top and annoy you? I whisk my eggs and sugar just until combined.

As for putting everything in the same pot and heating it up, that is probably possible, but would require constant stirring/vigilance. I was trying to make pastry cream this way and had more issues with scorching. I think it is a little less work in the end to do it the traditional way by heating the liquid alone first - less active time of stirring and only one more bowl to wash.

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I have seen (and used) recipes where this is not done at all - the sugar gets dissolved in the heating milk and the yolks are simply whisked to break them up. So no, you don't need to get any kind of fluff from the eggs/sugar. As to why it is still in many recipes, perhaps to ensure that you don't forget to add the sugar??

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The purpose of mixing sugar with the yolks is to help protect the yolks from curdling. You don't really have to do it as long as the milk isn't too far above 70*C when you add it to the yolks, and you add the milk slowly enough.

Also, you don't want to whip or beat the yolk/sugar mixture. The only thing you want to do is dissolve the sugar into the yolks and mix them together, you don't want to increase the volume or develop air bubbles.

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