CUSTARDS. BASICS FOR ONE OF THE PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN’S STAPLES. What is a Custard?. Custards are a mixture, generally cream based, that is thickened, gelled or set by the heat coagulation of egg proteins.
BASICS FOR ONE OF THE PROFESSIONAL KITCHEN’S STAPLES
STIRRED and BAKED
STIRRED: Crème Anglaise, Pastry Cream, Sabayon, Lemon Curd, Various puddings and creams
BAKED: Crème Caramel, Crème Brulee, Quiche, Pumpkin pie, Cheesecake, Bread Pudding
Yes if not too excessive. Add 1 ounce of cold milk and process immediately with a stich blender, blender or processor, strain through a Chinoise. There will be some differences. The excess heat will cause a more egg flavor and a deeper yellow color. The saved sauce is typically thicker, not always a negative!
This allows for a steady temperature as water baths will rarely exceed a simmer 180-190 degrees. It prevents the outer edges from over baking before the center is set.
Tempering is an important technique where we add two ingredients of different temperatures together. The goal is to combine without damage to either ingredient. If we were to add eggs directly to hot milk, they would instantly coagulate, leaving bits of cooked egg throughout. To avoid this, we add a small amount of the hot liquid to our eggs. Many think tempering is to raise the egg temperature, but it is really to dilute the egg without significantly raising the temperature. Once diluted, the eggs are less likely to be damaged as we add the remaining milk. The addition of sugar, or other room temperature ingredients also aides in this.
When egg yolks and sugar set together in a bowl, and not immediately mixed, they will “cook”. This is a term used to describe the look of the yolks as they gel, appearing to cook. Sugars being hygroscopic, pull moisture from the yolk (yolks are only 50% water) drying them out. Without moisture, the proteins quickly aggregate, as if heat were applied, thus “cooked”.
Avoid this by mixing the two immediately. The yolks will thicken but will not solidify.