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Caviar (Vanilla Seeds) Sinks to the Bottom of my Custard


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Today I learned that the vanilla seeds that are scraped from vanilla pods is called caviar, and mine are sinking to the bottom of my custards.  Up until recently, while learning custard-making techniques, I've use vanilla extract, but now I'm using vanilla beans (what a flavor difference!).

 

Is it possible to get the "caviar" to disperse throughout the custard, rather than sinking?  I know it won't add much to the flavor of the finished custard, but it sure would look nice. 

 

Thanks for any suggestions ....

 ... Shel


 

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The thicker the custard the less it will sink. Like, when I'm doing vanilla panna cotta (which is pretty runny!) I do wait the cream to actually start cool down and thicken before putting in the molds. 

 ... Shel


 

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You could flavor your sugar with the empty pods (bury the pods in s container of sugar and leave for a few days) but I think some people prefer the seeds to show so as to inform the guests that they are savvy to using real vanilla!

Edited by ruthcooks (log)
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Ruth Dondanville aka "ruthcooks"

“Are you making a statement, or are you making dinner?” Mario Batali

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Perhaps if you think people will be so repelled by your flan that they will leave the dinner table without eating it, you might want to reduce the number of seeds you put in each custard so they are not so noticeable? Or maybe add the vanilla seeds to the caramel (where, if they congregate in a particular spot, you could fix that problem by moving them around with tweezers into a pleasing arrangement) and use just a bit of vanilla extract in the flan.

 

I just looked at the picture you posted of the flan you made (on your 3rd front page thread about this technique/flan) - and I really have absolutely no idea what you are calling 'ugly and unpleasant'. Looks fine to me. I would put away the magnifying glass if I were you.

 

I would personally not bother to try to thicken anything like that merely to distribute the seeds in the way you suggest you would like to (so I cannot tell you how to thicken your custard to make it work - and that might create a whole host of other problems and concerns for you anyway) - but, the general principle that Lia outlined is correct - if a mixture is thicker small items within that mixture will generally suspend better within it. In the case of fruitcakes, one also coats heavier things like raisins and fruit in a bit of flour so they won't cling to each other and will 'float' better.

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You could flavor your sugar with the empty pods (bury the pods in s container of sugar and leave for a few days) but I think some people prefer the seeds to show so as to inform the guests that they are savvy to using real vanilla!

 ... Shel


 

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I have yet to find a way that does what you are looking to accomplish. I also agree it presents horribly. This was the first picture that came up when I hit google images.143306548_d95bd6564f.jpg

"If you can crack an egg one-handed, you'll have no problems undoing a brassiere." -Newfie saying

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I have yet to find a way that does what you are looking to accomplish. I also agree it presents horribly. This was the first picture that came up when I hit google images.143306548_d95bd6564f.jpg

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I've not done this for dessert custards, but I have for savory ones, e.g., crustless quiche.  What I do is cook the base mixture in a bain marie until thickened, then add the other ingredients, pour into a baking dish and cook in the oven until set firm.  I go through these machinations precisely to disperse the filling ingredients throughout the custard, rather than having some float and others sink.  Can't guarantee this will work for your recipe, but might be worth a try.

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I've not done this for dessert custards, but I have for savory ones, e.g., crustless quiche.  What I do is cook the base mixture in a bain marie until thickened, then add the other ingredients, pour into a baking dish and cook in the oven until set firm.  I go through these machinations precisely to disperse the filling ingredients throughout the custard, rather than having some float and others sink.  Can't guarantee this will work for your recipe, but might be worth a try.

 

You know, my first reaction was to dismiss your suggestion, thinking "That's not how you make a custard."  But then, the more I thought about it, the more intriguing the idea became.  So, when I get a chance, probably at the end of this month when I make some more flans, I'll give it a try, and meanwhile, I can say with all certainty, I will be thinking some more about this idea of yours.  It's interesting in part because it's a different (to me, at least) way to make the dessert, and I also like thinking about how this can be adapted to my needs.  Thanks!

 

OK, back to the kitchen .... my garlic is ready.

Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel


 

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I've not done this for dessert custards, but I have for savory ones, e.g., crustless quiche.  What I do is cook the base mixture in a bain marie until thickened, then add the other ingredients, pour into a baking dish and cook in the oven until set firm.  I go through these machinations precisely to disperse the filling ingredients throughout the custard, rather than having some float and others sink.  Can't guarantee this will work for your recipe, but might be worth a try.

I've done this with creme brulee... they were "mini creme brulee" served in porcelain soup spoons for an event. The creme was cooked on the stovetop, cooled slightly, then piped into the spoons then chilled. Resulted in a great creamy texture, and a convenient delivery device for a 1 bite snack.
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