Baked Custards, Cooked Custards, and Thickened Custards

Day 10: Recipes for Crème Brulée, Crème Caramel, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Panna Cotta, Almond Tuile Paste. Included but not prepared: Pot de Crème.

Baked Custards
-These custards have few ingredients but are easy to mess up.
-The key component is the temperature that you cook the milk to; it should be just steamy.
-Baking the custard in the oven causes the proteins to coagulate so the custard is a solid component.
-If it is still watery than it has not been baked long enough or there may be too much sugar which would inhibit the proteins from coagulating.
-If the milk gets too hot when preparing it, let it cool down before using it in the custard.
-It should be around 110- 120 degrees; you don not want it to boil.
-Temper the hot milk into the eggs.
-It should be smooth and creamy. If is not is will make an unappealing final product.
-Once the crème has been brulée (burnt), do not put it back into the cooler- the sugar on top will melt.
-The attraction of the custard is the crunch or crack of the caramel on top.
-They will bake in the deck oven in large cake pans in a water bath.
-The water will insulate the custard. It will not get above a certain temperature.
-If it bakes at too high a temperature, the custard will scramble and be rubbery.
-When it’s done it will jiggle. Insert a knife off center and see if it comes out clean.
-Frozen egg yolks have 10% sugar that helps prevent crystallization of the moisture in them, as well as increasing their shelf life.
-The downside of sugar in the yolks is that it makes a thicker egg product.
-Crème brulée is easy to flavor with extracts and infusions. You would infuse the milk, steep a vanilla bean for example, strain it, and then use that milk to make the custard.
-When you stir the custard use a spatula instead of a whisk; you don’t want to aerate, the air holes will bake in.
-The custard will be very thin and will finish cooking in the oven.
-For baking the crème brulée, the top heat should be off and the door and floor heat should be set between 7 and 9. This allows it to cook slowly and not overheat on top.
-Put the baking pan directly on the deck and fill with water.
-In the convection oven bake at 275 degrees. The moving air will contribute to the coagulation of the eggs.

Crème Brulée
8 oz Brown Sugar (for bruléed top)
12 oz Egg Yolks
6 oz Sugar
3 pt Cream
¼ oz Vanilla
¾ tsp Salt

Preparing the Crème Brulée

-When the cream is steamy, add the salt.

-Have 4 oz pie tins ready set in a large can pan to the side.

-Temper the hot cream into the already whisked eggs and sugar.
-Do not stir too aggressively; you just need it to come together.
-Don’t put the custard back on the heat; you don’t want it to get too thick.
-Add the vanilla.

-Pour the custard into the pie tins.

-Skim off any foam or bubbles that remain on top.
-Take the pan to the oven then fill the pan with water. The water should be just up to ¾ high of the pie tin, under the lip. The water insulates the custard.

-These bake for 40 minutes. Chill in cooler.

Finishing the Crème Brulée

-Sprinkle the top of the custard with sugar.

-Using a torch, move the flame around to caramelize the sugar layer on top.
-Turbinado sugar melts more slowly, so it will take more torching to caramelize.
-Apply the sugar in an even layer. Sprinkle more on top if some areas are not getting the same color as the rest. Move the torch around the top quickly.

-Let the custard cool before eating.
-The sugar will get hard, forming a crust. You are looking for a hard crack from the top when tapped with a spoon.

Preparing and finishing Crème Caramel

-Combine the larger amount of sugar and the water on the stove. You are making a caramel.
-This is vanilla custard. The caramel adds flavor, color, and makes its own sauce.
-The sugar should be the color of honey or darker. Pour it into the pie tins to cover the bottom. It gets hard fast so swirl it around quickly to cover the bottom.

-Put the milk on the stove to get steamy, and then add the salt.
-Mix the vanilla in with the eggs. It doesn’t matter when you add the vanilla, it wont evaporate.

-Temper the hot milk into the whisked eggs and sugar.

-Add the eggs back into the milk and stir.
-Strain the custard through a chinois; because it uses whole eggs there is a chance of some egg pieces remaining. At this point the custard can be chilled and stored for up to 3 days.
-When the caramel is hard, pour in the custard.

-Skim off the top of any bubbles.

-Bring to deck oven and fill pan with water. Bake for around 30 minutes. You are looking for the same sense of doneness as the crème brulée.
-When cooled, run a pairing knife around the edge of the tin, releasing the custard from the sides. Quickly flip over onto serving plate.
-It is not served with another sauce because the caramel makes its own sauce and it will bleed on the plate and not look as appealing.

I unmolded my creme caramel but found the caramel stuck to the bottom of the tin. It was a bit light even though it was darker when I poured it in. Just for fun I took out the sugar and stuck it on top of the caramel.

Chocolate Bread Pudding
1 lb 4 oz Cream
1 lb 4 oz Milk
6 oz Sugar
12 oz Bittersweet Chocolate
2 oz Rum
2 tsp Vanilla
8 Whole Eggs
1 lb Brioche Bread

Preparing and Finishing Chocolate Bread Pudding

-Mix the cream, milk, sugar, and salt on the heat just enough to melt the sugar.
-Cut the bread into 1.5” cubes, they will break down slightly when soaking in the custard.
-Add the chocolate into the pot when the milk is steamy. Whisk it to break up any chocolate pieces.

-Combine the eggs, rum, and vanilla. Break up the eggs.
-Temper the hot milk into the eggs and stir.

-Add the bread cubes to the custard and let soak for 5 minutes.

-Spray the container that they will be baking in.
-Fill the cups ¾ full with the bread and custard. Sprinkle some brown sugar on top; this will make a nice crust when baking.

-Bake using a water bath in 325 deck oven, around 40 minutes.

-Check doneness with a knife; it will come out clean.

Panna Cotta
10 oz Milk
10 oz Cream
4 oz Sugar
2 ½- 3 ½ sheets of Gelatin
1 tsp Vanilla
Preparing Panna Cotta

-Heat milk, cream, and sugar just until steamy.
-Add the vanilla and the bloomed gelatin.
-Stir until the gelatin is melted.
-Pour into custard cups and let set in the cooler.

Almond Tuile Paste
3 oz Butter
4 oz Powdered Sugar
3 oz Egg Whites
3.5 oz Cake Flour
2.5 oz Almonds (for garnishing)

Preparing Tuile Paste

-Cream butter and powdered sugar.
-Sift cake flour.
-Stream egg whites in slowly. Scrape the bowl it make sure everything is combined.

-Pour the cake flour into the mixer and mix until combined and smooth.

Pot de Crème
8 oz Eggs
4 oz Yolks
8 oz Sugar
½ tsp Salt
½ oz Vanilla
1 pt Cream
1 ½ pt Milk

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