Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Sign in to follow this  
tan319

Classic French Crème Brulée - The Topic

Recommended Posts

hello all.

just wondering if anybody has a favorite way to cook their brulee.

I just did some in a convection oven, low fan, 225 and they got a bit wierd on top. In oval dishes, BTW.

Good texture inside. Just a bit wierd on top.

I welcome any input.

thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm sorry, I should have been more descriptive.

A bit of a skin on top.

It's not broken, just a bit rough on top.

I use a torch to brulee but am super interested in one of those electronic salamander type things.

I saw it on the food network best pastry comp and did a websearch and found them for about 129.00 bucks. I might be able to get one @ my new gig since the chef seems to be more then willing to spend on stuff that improves quality.

I just started there a week ago and redid the dessert menu this week and sales are already up!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Best way: blowtorch.

Agreed. My friends don't call me "Sparky" for no reason. Blowtorch is also multi-purpose. Light grill. Loosen rusted on bolts, etc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the convection oven is too harsh of a heat to properly cook the creme brulee custard (as opposed to caramelizing the top). I use a conventional oven at 300-325 F and bake in a water bath until just barely set in the middle, or even still a little jiggly. You may have to lay a sheet of foil over the pan so the tops don't overcook and curdle - that's probably what happened to the ones you did in the convection oven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What nightscotsman said. Also use the middle rack. Mine tend to get brown on top while the inside is still not done of the pan in in the top half of the oven.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thank you folks for the suggestions.

Today we did them in the convection oven in hotel pans @225, load off. They got raves last night, skin or not, :-).

Have to tell you though, there's some weird ovens in this place. I wasn't digging this convection oven for this flourless choc cake I was doing so I put them in a regular oven upstairs, and found out it basically has no temp unless you put it on @ 500!!!

My assistant had put them in so I found them and threw them into the convection oven and they turned out ok. I don't like it because it makes them rise unevenly, usually.

I'm also in a higher altitude so i'm sure it probably affects it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm having a problem getting my creme brulees (cremes brulee ?) perfect. The custard is smooth, but when I bake it, some of the portions develop a soft, foamy top that I don't like. Is there a trick to getting a smooth, firm top ? The two things I suspect I'm doing wrong are:

1) Beating the custard with an electric beater rather than a whisk. The surface gets foamy, but I skim all the foam off. Still, I wonder if using a whisk, at least when adding the cream to the egg mixture would reduce foaming.

2) Amount of water in the bain marie. Could it be that I don't enough (or that I have too) water ? I fill to just below the top of the custard in the ramekins.

Anyone ?

- S

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Even though I used a whisk, and skimmed like you did, there must have been air still suspended in the custard. As it heated up, the air rose to the surface as little custard bubbles, and set there, leaving a spongy-looking (but still pretty firm) surface. That was my guess, anyway, and your experience makes me more confident. Maybe some pastry god will stroll by and let us know.

Luckily, crispy, caramelized sugar can hide a multitude of sins. No one but me knew about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm....I stir mine with a whisk and I try not to incorporate air. And right before it goes into the bain marie, I slam the custards down on the countertop to force some of the air out. I normally end up with 2 or 3 bubbles when I do it this way. Maybe that will help?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

also if you have a torch you can use the flame and blow the bubbles away..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

STIR with the whisk - no beating!!!!!!!!

If you have foamy bubbles hit them with a torch quickly BEFORE you put them in the oven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
STIR with the whisk - no beating!!!!!!!!

If you have foamy bubbles hit them with a torch quickly BEFORE you put them in the oven

chefette is right, the quick pass with the torch before you bake at any bubbles will insure a smooth finish.

Also, I quickly cook my custard on the fire ala creme anglaise, then strain before pouring into my dishes, a technique that I got here on the 'gullet.

Always works for me.

Also, I prefer a radiant oven over convection for my brulee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yep, I cook and strain before baking too. You get a much smoother, richer tasting custard that way. Never had problems with bubbles.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - always strain. That's a given.

I prefer a convection oven and then dry bake the brulee - much faster and more consistent results. But you need a good convection oven

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The torch does seem to get rid of the micro-bubbles. I know a few people who also cover their trays of brulees with plastic wrap, tightly stretched right down to the surface. Seems to keep them more moist and helps prevent the surface from overcooking.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The torch does seem to get rid of the micro-bubbles. I know a few people who also cover their trays of brulees with plastic wrap, tightly stretched right down to the surface. Seems to keep them more moist and helps prevent the surface from overcooking.

Steve,

Plastic wrap won't melt at 250/300 f?

I always cover my flans in the pan with plastic but I bake them at 225f.

chefette:

I prefer a convection oven and then dry bake the brulee - much faster and more consistent results. But you need a good convection oven

chefette,

Can you explain what you mean by dry bake?

No waterbath?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have found that making the batter 24 hours in advance will allow all of the air to escape prior to baking. Also don't let the cream come to a boil, that will also incorporate air, the fat in the cream will trap water vapor and result in the bubbles after baking. Instead place a ladle in to the hot cream (or milk mixture), when you lift it out of the pot and a large cloud of steam rises from the bottom of the over turned ladle then you are ready. Though I am not sure what temp this is (I am guessing around 190) it has always worked for me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dave you seem to be quite an authority on "egg based" subjects (no pun intended), what is your opinion?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of thoughts...

I make the custard base the day before I bake off the brulees. This gives the proteins time to absorb the excess water and ensures a creamy texture. I strain right after tempering, cool in an ice bath then into the fridge till the next day. I think this time helps with the air bubbles as well.

I place a side towel/ napkin on the sheet tray with the ramekins on top. This keeps the ramekins from sliding when you pour the water off.

I place a second sheet tray, inverted, on top of the ramekin filled sheet tray. This works well for me but I have also heard the plastic wrap idea works great.

Good luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Dave you seem to be quite an authority on "egg based" subjects (no pun intended), what is your opinion?

I apologize if I gave the impression of being an expert on anything! In retrospect, my post might have seemed like a taunt, but I didn't intend it that way. I'm just a liitle surprised that everyone is convinced that entrained air is the problem. We can usually get into arguments over much less! I went on record with the air theory, up above, becuase fish taked about beating the custard. But the more I think about it, the less persuasive I find this theory.

I'm not sure exactly what fish is referring to, but what I observed was not a few microbubbles. It was a slightly spongy, lighter colored layer, about 1/4 inch thick, on top of the custard. It would take a lot of air to cause it. I cooked on the stove first -- without boiling or beating, I strained the custard, I gave the portions a good hard tap, and I didn't see any bubbles before baking -- so even if I had known about the trick with the torch, there wouldn't have been any reaon to employ it.

So now I'm wondering if it wasn't a case of too high a temperature causing evaporation above the level of the water bath, as fish surmised originally.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While "beating" the egg mixture the protein strand in the egg may have broken up. Even straining this liquid could not remove the broken protein strands. During baking these broken strand could have rose to the top, and formed there own layer outside of the homogenous one underneath.

Also I would like to point out that my inquiry about your opinion (Dave) was genuine; I was really impressed with some of the posts that you wrote for the egg cookery topic. Very interesting and well backed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So: 1) how could this be prevented? Is/are there warning sign(s)? 2) how can we test it?

(Thanks for your clarification. And for the compliment.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Similar Content

    • By pastrygirl
      There are two local grocery stores here who I'd like to try to sell chocolate to but they have policies forbidding GMO soy,  Soy lecithin is allowed only if organic or certified non-GMO. 
       
      I use a lot of Felchlin, some Valrhona, a little Cacao Barry. The only mention of GMOs I've found from Felchlin is this note in a brochure: GMO absence:  Felchlin fulfills current legislative requirements regarding GMO absence.  All Felchlin products comply with the Swiss Regulation and the European Council Regulation related to genetically modified organisms in food and feed.
       
      Does anybody know what those requirements are?  Is anything European going to be GMO-free?  Or labeled above some %?
       
       
    • By umami5
      Has anyone come across a digital version of Practical Professional Cookery (revised 3rd edition) H.L. Cracknell & R.J. Kaufmann.
      I am using this as the textbook for my culinary arts students and a digital version would come in very handy for creating notes and handouts.
    • By Mullinix18
      I dont believe that any English translation of Carêmes works exist. An incomplete version was published in 1842 (I think) but even the that version seems lackluster for the few recipes it does cover. I think it's time the world looks to its past, but I don't speak great French and it's a huge task to undertake. I hopefully plan on publishing this work and anyone who helps me will get a very fair cut, and if we decide not to publish it, I'll put it out on the internet for free. I'm working in Google docs so we can collaborate. I'm first cataloging the index to cross reference the pre-existing incomplete English version to give us a reference of what yet needs to be done, and from there we will go down the list of recipies and Translate them one by one. Simple google translate goes only so far, as it is 1700s French culinary terms and phrases being used. I'd like to preserve as much of Carêmes beautiful and flowery language as possible. Who's with me? 
    • By Mullinix18
      I have seen referenced in several places on the internet, including Wikipedia, a stat about escoffier recommending 40 minutes for scrambled eggs in a Bain Marie. I cant find where this number is from. On Wikipedia it refers to the book I currently own, the "Escoffier le guide culinaire" with forward by Heston Blumenthal by h. L. Cracknell...specificly page 157 for the 40 minute cooking time of scrambled eggs but it's not in my book on that page! Even tho there is the recipe for scrambled eggs on that page... I've seen the 1903 first edition online.. And it's not in there either.... Where is this number from?? Id like to know in case there is some even more complete book or something out there that I'm missing. Any help would be much appreciated. Thank you. 
    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×