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.

baking custards


Marlene
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had a major problem with my creme brulee custard yesterday. It was way too runny and didn't set. I'm going to try it again today, but I wondered if I could/should use convection when baking something as delicate as a custard?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have only ever had problems with baking custards on the convection setting when I left them uncovered in the bain marie. Covering with the whole contraption with foil and sealing it tight worked fine. Runny = too few eggs yolks?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Possibly, although I used 7 egg yolks to 2 cups heavy cream and 2/3 cup whole milk. they were baked at 200 F for about an hour. I used my stand mixture to beat the egg yolks and 1/3 cup of sugar until they were pale and thick and then I added the cream mixture that had been infusing with a vanilla bean.

I can honestly say I've never used a bain marie to bake custards. They were baked at 200F for about an hour, and even then I could tell they weren't setting right.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Marlene--the "theory" behind using a convection oven for custards is that the fans ensure better air circulation, keeping the oven at the same temp all over, and hence less need for a water bath--whose real function is to help coddle the custards while they are cooking and to prevent them from over-heating or heating too quickly, as they might in a radiant heat oven where the focus of the heat is coming from the bottom of the oven. But that water bath can help baking and setting, too--if at the start of baking you pour very hot water in as the bath.

so convection can be really good for creme brulees--what's not necessarily so good is if you have powerful fans blowing the air around, which disturbs the surface. another trick to try is putting the ramekins in a hotel pan--with or without water bath--and covering the pan with plastic wrap--and then baking.

you'll know if whatever you're doing is not working because the custard will tell you once you unmold it or eat it--you'll see little microbubbles in the custard--on top, on the sides--and that'll tell you where you went wrong.

200 for an hour seems too short and too cool--try starting at a higher temp like 250-275 also make sure you verify what your oven temp actually is.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Steve, that really helps. I don't have a hotel pan, (oh good, another toy to add to my collection!), but I do have a roasting pan, would that work? What if I start at 250 convection with plastic wrap over the whole thing?

I have checked my oven with an oven thermometer and it is on temp.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah, the container is irrelevant--just something you can seal effectively. I know people who bake these both in a water bath and not, in radiant and convection, covered and not, and every possible combination--everyone has a personal way of doing these. I lean toward convection, water bath, covered with plastic but that's not always practical in a restaurant setting.

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent. I'm off to try this. I'll report back. One more dumb question never having used a water bath. The hot water should come half way up outside of the ramikens?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One thing that stands out to me, is the temp. you baked at was 200F.

If water boils at 212F, choosing 200F is playing it extremely safe........sort of a guarentee that it can't come up to a boil. Eggs curdle at 190F. So one would think that 200F is ideal to bake custard that's not in a water bath. Unforunately, all that great logic doesn't always work the way one plans. Exactly why.............I'm not a scientist and can't tell you (but we do have some scientists here so maybe they can explain), sorry...........I can unfortunately tell you what I know based on my baking experiences only.

I do know that my thermometers aren't always accurate, nor is my oven temp.. I lost 3 batches of marshmellows last week with 3 different thermometers, all turned out to be off. If your oven was set at 200F and a little off, say 25 degrees, you may have been baking in a 175F oven and you needed 10 more degrees of heat for the custard to set perfectly.

So when you make these again, I'd suggest using 325F for your oven temp.. There's other factors that effect your baking custards..........among all of us here in P & B I think we've come across all of them by now. Some people can't get their brulees to set when baked in a water bath in their particular oven. Some people swear by covering the tops of their dishes while they bake. Some swear not covering is best. Some will tell you a confection oven bakes best, others will tell you a conventional oven is best for creme brulee. We can tell you that the type of dish your baking your custards in will effect them, and the temp. of the water in your water bath will effect them too. Some of us use heavy cream, some use half and half. Some don't believe in beating the yolks and sugar prior to adding your cream, others swear by it.......and so it goes, on and on.

These little desserts can have as many complexities as making pie crusts. The only real way to solve your particular issue is to keep making them until you find the right adjustments needed in your particular kitchen. There isn't really one answer, recipe or method that works in all situations.

I can share with you the recipe I use for creme brulee, if you'd like to try it? It comes from Marlene Sorosky.

2 cups half and half

1/2 c. sugar

Heated together, brought up to a boil. While hot, temper into:

7 egg yolks

2tsp. vanilla extract

Strain in chinois imediately to stop the cooking. While this is still hot, pour into your ramikins and bake at 325F. These will set very quickly, under 20 minutes. I don't use a water bath, but you can if you wish.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well I"m always up for showing my mistakes! I used my recipe although I'm going to try Wendy's next time. I beat the eggs and sugar together using the paddle attachment instead of the whisk this time. Then I added the cream/vanilla mixture and whisked that in by hand.

gallery_6080_1969_8163.jpg

Set the ramikens into a pan and filled half way with boiling water. I tried to wrap with plastic wrap, but I wasn't getting a good seal so I gave it up.

gallery_6080_1969_2952.jpg

I started these at 325 convection bake, and checked them about 10 minutes in. One of them was starting to brown, so I immediately lowered the oven to 250 regular bake. At the end, some of them were a little brown:

gallery_6080_1969_18861.jpg

A close shot of one of them at the end of baking. I've got those bubbles around the edges that Steve was talking about. Rats.

gallery_6080_1969_23149.jpg

I'm sure these will taste fine, but I'm out to perfect this, so I'll be trying again tomorrow using Wendy's method.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

you'll know if whatever you're doing is not working because the custard will tell you once you unmold it or eat it--you'll see little microbubbles in the custard--on top, on the sides--and that'll tell you where you went wrong.

Steve, so what you are saying is that there should not be any little bubbles at all?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The recipe I use is:

2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

8 yolks

1 tsp vanilla

325 degrees F with a waterbath for 35 minutes. No bubbles, no browning.

ETA: sorry...I didn't realize that I had adapted the recipe a few months ago. The proportions I posted above are correct now.

Edited by Ling (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

marlene,

i think this may have been covered in another thread, but i'm not a huge fan of whisking or paddling the egg yolks and sugar until thick/light yellow when dealing with creme brulees or anglaises. one of the reasons is, when you whip them that much (to dissolve the sugar is the usual explanation) you end up with a foamy mix. when you use the mix immediately in the case of creme brulees, you end up with a foamy top and are unable to tell when correctly baked. just whisking by hand until the yolks and sugar are mixed well should be good enough. i am also a proponent of heating the cream/milk/half and half mixture. the heated liquid should aid in dissolving the sugar and you should always strain the mix afterward anyway in case there are lumps.

i really think you need to try to bake them covered. if you can't get a good seal with plastic wrap, use aluminum foil. it's a pain when you want to check them during baking as you can't see through it, but it really makes a difference when you create that moist heat so the tops of your custard don't dry out and brown.

when using convection, i tend to bake custards right around 300 degrees fahrenheit.

good luck on your next attempt!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I forgot to include in my method that I do heat the milk/cream mixture and I let it infuse with a split vanilla bean for 40 minutes. I also do strain it before pouring into ramikins. I will try just whisking the egg mixture by hand though. That makes sense!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've talked extensively about the sugar into the yolks technique.........I've alway thought it was unnecessary for custards also. It's completely pointless when your going to pour a liquid on top of it, that will deflate all your built up air.......and who wants air in their brulee..........

The bubbles that form on the sides of the dish, I believe are bubbles from the object coming to a boil. (I've never seen that myself until now)

The foam on your unbaked brulee can be dissolved by running a torch over the tops of them before baking, the heat will pop the bubbles for you.

Marlene, thanks for posting your pictures, they're always helpful!

..... I'm not so sure your gaining much by infusing. It's only necessary if your bean is old or dry. Just the scraped seeds will give you the flavor you want. I actually don't use vanilla bean in my brulees, the seeds sink to the bottom of your finished brulee. I use vanilla extract instead.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please forgive me for this stupid question: you put plastic wrap in a 300 degree oven? Is that really okay?

"I don't mean to brag, I don't mean to boast;

but we like hot butter on our breakfast toast!"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to admit, I was a little concerned about it melting as well. And I didn't want it melting onto my oven racks.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

200 degrees is too cool, I agree. I always bake my brulee custards at 325, in a water bath, in a conventional oven, and uncovered. Never had a problem. I do bake pots de creme custards covered with foil that has holed poked through to release steam. But that's because my pots de cremes are denser than the brulee and I want them to cook thoroughly without becoming too hard.

And I agree. Never bake ANY pastry, custard, cake, cookie or any other dessert, without using a properly working oven thermometer. Most pastries and desserts are affected by even slight variations in temperature.

Eileen

Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please forgive me for this stupid question:  you put plastic wrap in a 300 degree oven?  Is that really okay?

My experience is that grocery store bought plastic wrap does not work. Commercial plastic wrap, like the kind you get at Costco or something like that, the big momma boxes, will work. Maybe home grown plastic wrap will work now but I mean after I tried it once & it melted, I didn't run extensive tests or anything.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Out of curiosity: Has anyone with a convection/steam oven tried using the steam instead of a bath to keep a skin from forming?

I have a convection steam oven for the first time now, and the idea has occoured to me. Right now I bake my brulee in a hotel pan, on top of a wet towel, plastic wrapped at 300. I use a wet towel because apprently I suck at holding things steady and always slosh water up onto a few of the brulee and ruin them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
The recipe I use is:

2 cup whipping cream

1/2 cup sugar

8 yolks

1 tsp vanilla

325 degrees F with a waterbath for 35 minutes. No bubbles, no browning.

ETA: sorry...I didn't realize that I had adapted the recipe a few months ago. The proportions I posted above are correct now.

Ling, do you heat the whipping cream/sugar first?

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...