creme brulee fail- help! - Chicagoland Sportbikes
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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 02:55 PM Thread Starter
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creme brulee fail- help!

I hadn't made one in about 10 years and I did a dry run yesterday. Total fail.

They were set well in the fridge after 24 hours, and I pulled them out, sugared the tops, and torched. About a minute later I took a look at them and thought they could be darker, so I torched a bit more. They were a prefect golden color. But when I broke into them, the custard was complete LIQUID!

My ramekins are shallow (about 1" deep); I am curious if that is the problem. Or, is it that I went back for a second torching?? Also, to save money on the test run, I used vanilla extract (I have excellent quality beans on hand for the big day though). Perhaps the alcohol content has an effect?

I would like to do another dry run tonight so any help is appreciated!!! I know there is at least one chef on the board....help!
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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 02:57 PM
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1" deep ramekins? are you making minis or something? You probably overheated it when you torched the sugar.

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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 02:58 PM
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Never tried creme brulee, so I cannot offer any input I'm afraid.

But if I were, I'd adhere to the wisdom of Mr. Brown...

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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:00 PM Thread Starter
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1" deep ramekins? are you making minis or something? You probably overheated it when you torched the sugar.
This is what I have:
http://www.crateandbarrel.com/kitche...e-dish/s336394
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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:03 PM
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Interesting, so clearly designed for this task!! haha!! I have the ramekins that you see alton using in the video Bek posted. I don't make creme brulee though so I'm just taking a stab in the dark.

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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:03 PM
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Shallow ramekins make it far more difficult to get everything to work out right. If you have done it successfully in the past, just do the same thing.

The problem could have been overcooking by hitting it twice with the torch as well, but hard to say.

More importantly for me, I wonder what the yolk to cream ratio was that you used...

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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I just watched the Alton video....I did the same thing-- kitchen towel in the pan and everything. I used 3 yolks to 1 cup cream (it was half a recipe for 4).
I do have deeper ramekins I can use; not 4 that match, but I don't give a crap at this point if they match. Unfortunately, I bought 8 of these damn Crap in a Barrel ones with a wedding gift card, so I guess if they don't work out I'm going to have to take up skeet shooting or something.
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:13 PM
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They were probably undercooked. A little moisture isn't the end of the world and you can soak it up with a paper towel, but too much usually means you thought you cooked it enough, but didn't. *sometimes* you can get away with cooking it again... Might be worth it for a salvage... otherwise, start over. The wider/shallower containers should not really be the problem.

Also, don't use the extract; use the real mccoy.

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Last edited by Arch; 12-20-2010 at 03:15 PM.
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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:31 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arch View Post
Also, don't use the extract; use the real mccoy.
Well, yeah. I just didn't want to blow $10 on a practice round. Beans aren't cheap. I got 3 at Penzey's because I happened to be downtown but if I get them close to home it's $15 for ONE.
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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:34 PM Thread Starter
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They were probably undercooked. A little moisture isn't the end of the world and you can soak it up with a paper towel, but too much usually means you thought you cooked it enough, but didn't. *sometimes* you can get away with cooking it again... Might be worth it for a salvage... otherwise, start over. The wider/shallower containers should not really be the problem.

Also, don't use the extract; use the real mccoy.
So do you cook a shallower one less? How do you adjust the timing? The recipe I used said 30-35 minutes. I did 35. Alton's vid says 40-45 but he was using deep ramekins.

Honestly when I made them 10 years ago I was working in a hotel kitchen; I really was following instructions more than anything. I can make custards and puddings no problem, but there's obviously *something* different here I'm forgetting.
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post #11 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:51 PM
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cook them until it sets along the edges and the center jiggles a bit. 30 mins seems a bit short, IMO and make sure you leave them in the water until they come back to room temp afterwards. Best to use a reliable digital instant-read thermometer that can read 170-175 in the center. I've seen oven temps called for between 250 and 275ish and cooking times range from 40-60 minutes. This is why you want to use a thermometer which removes most of the guess work.

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post #12 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 03:54 PM
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3 yolks to one cup seems light to me, and 45 minutes was the time I used to use. You mentioned alcohol? Alcohol will certainly make it harder to thicken.

just my .02

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post #13 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 04:10 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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cook them until it sets along the edges and the center jiggles a bit. 30 mins seems a bit short, IMO and make sure you leave them in the water until they come back to room temp afterwards. Best to use a reliable digital instant-read thermometer that can read 170-175 in the center. I've seen oven temps called for between 250 and 275ish and cooking times range from 40-60 minutes. This is why you want to use a thermometer which removes most of the guess work.
I did 35 mins at 300.
I referenced a few different recipes (I tend to want to learn methods rather than steps) but they all called for 300 degrees. They also both said to pull the ramekins from the water immediately.

Incidentally, one said to throw them in the freezer for 15 minutes before torching to keep them nice and cold. Have you tried this trick? Anything worthwhile there?
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post #14 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 04:19 PM
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I never put them in the freezer and I use the small shallow dishes.
I'll agree with others though that 30 minutes is not enough.

i put them in the big oven pan and add HOT water.

I'm not sure if you are referring to the vanilla beans, if yes, do you split them in the middle and take out the good stuff? one of those is PLENTY enough!

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post #15 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 04:41 PM Thread Starter
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I never put them in the freezer and I use the small shallow dishes.
I'll agree with others though that 30 minutes is not enough.

i put them in the big oven pan and add HOT water.

I'm not sure if you are referring to the vanilla beans, if yes, do you split them in the middle and take out the good stuff? one of those is PLENTY enough!
Yes; I use real beans all the time so I know how to scrape them. I just didn't want to use them for this practice round since they're pricey. 3 for $15 is the best I can get around here. I added very hot water.

I'm going to try cooking longer, and torching less. Might give the freezer a try for good measure. I will make tonight and torch tomorrow. If it still doesn't work, I'll go back to my signature chocolate mousse.
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post #16 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 04:56 PM

 
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This is my favorite crem brulee! Yummy! Especially if you like coconut. Courtesy of bbqu.net

I do them in a bowl instead of the halved coconut shells.

Coco Loco Brulee printer-ready version

Serves 6

3 ripe (hard, brown-shelled) coconuts
For the filling:

2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
3/4 cup Coco Lopez
1 vanilla bean, split
2 strips lemon zest (1/2 by 2 inches long)
1/2 cup sugar, plus 3 tablespoons for making the brulee
8 egg yolks
2-1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
6 to 8 cups crushed ice
1. Cut the coconuts in half with a cleaver. The easiest way to do this is to tap the shell repeatedly with the back of the cleaver along an imaginary line going around the middle. After 10 to 20 taps, the shell will break neatly in two. Work over a bowl with a strainer to collect the coconut water. Save it for making drinks.

2. Combine the cream, coconut milk, Coco Lopez, vanilla bean, and lemon zest in a heavy saucepan and gradually bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 3 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a heatproof mixing bowl whisk together the _ cup sugar and egg yolks. Whisk in the cornstarch. Strain the milk into the yolk mixture in a thin stream and whisk to mix. Return this mixture to the saucepan and gradually bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat, whisking steadily. The mixture will thicken. Gently simmer for 1 to 2 minutes. Do not boil rapidly or overcook, or the mixture will curdle. Remove the pan from the heat and let the custard cool to room temperature. Discard the vanilla bean and lemon zest. Spoon the custard mixture into the coconut shells and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon. Refrigerate the custards for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

4. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons sugar in a thin layer over the filling in each coconut. Caramelize the sugar, using a blowtorch. Serve the coco loco brulees on beds of crushed ice in shallow bowl.

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post #17 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks but (1) this won't go with my Christmas dinner and (2) I injured myself once openeing an EZ-open coconut so they are my enemy until I can find a mini kitchen jackhammer.

I'm thinking I might go the route of the microplane and just adapt a garage tool to the kitchen, and sell the ever living crap out of it at williams sonoma.
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post #18 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 06:20 PM
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Quote:
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I did 35 mins at 300.
I referenced a few different recipes (I tend to want to learn methods rather than steps) but they all called for 300 degrees. They also both said to pull the ramekins from the water immediately.

Incidentally, one said to throw them in the freezer for 15 minutes before torching to keep them nice and cold. Have you tried this trick? Anything worthwhile there?
I do not put in freezer but I make sure internal temp is 170 and let stand in water after being out of oven. This lets it finish setting. Drastically changing a temp is more times than not a bad thing. Don't hurry the cool down.

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post #19 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-20-2010, 08:35 PM

 
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I don't use the real coconuts either. I just make them and toss them in the fridge. No freezer.

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post #20 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 03:12 AM
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I used to make crema catalana, the Spanish version at my restaurant. I would make it in a large pot and pour it into shallow earthen casseroles which would be caramelized to order. The burning of the sugar or the shallow dish doesn't make the custard runny, it wasn't cooked enough to begin with.

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post #21 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cecilio64 View Post
The burning of the sugar or the shallow dish doesn't make the custard runny, it wasn't cooked enough to begin with.
+1 30 minutes isn't long enough.

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post #22 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 08:55 AM
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Look into a "no bake" brulee recipe, generally I have found them to be much more consistent and much more stable. Oh and easier too.

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post #23 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 09:59 AM Thread Starter
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Ok I tried again last night. Made a 2 dish batch and cooked it longer. Totally forgot to take the temperature, but it was really well set. Cooled it down in the pan with the water still inside, etc.
We shall see tonight how it goes with the torching.

I don't know why I'm such a brulee loser; I can make pastry cream, custards, puddings, creme anglaise...all with no problem.
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post #24 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-21-2010, 10:00 AM
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I can't remember how long I've baked them but I think you're right about the extract being the problem. When you torch them back off of it to heat up the sugar a bit before nailing them. If you spot them with heat too quick the sugar balls up, and don't use too much sugar.

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post #25 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 10:31 AM Thread Starter
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Success!!!

This was 2 yolks:1 cup heavy cream. 1/2 vanilla bean. Baked at about 315 for 35 min. Set 24 hours in the fridge, then right before torching stuck it in the freezer for 15 min. Perfection. So the real difference was the cooking time, and not using extract.

Used Penzey's vanilla sugar on top instead of plain.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg brulee.jpg (49.5 KB, 10 views)
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post #26 of 26 (permalink) Old 12-22-2010, 10:32 AM
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Awesome!

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