Creme brulee questions

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From Michael Ruhlman's RATIO concerning creme brulee which I will make tomorrow:
  • is it okay to allow the vanilla bean to infuse in the milk and cream mixture overnight at room temperature???
  • and I assume that the water bath is preheated to boiling prior to pouring into the pan that accommodates the ramkins????
  • And once finished baking in the water bath, are the ramkins allowed to cool in the bath or removed from the bath and allowed to cool on a baking rack?  TIA
 
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1. A simmer will probably infuse more vanilla as the heat will release more oils/extracts. Of course if you  can spare the bean, splitting it open and scraping the seeds into the custard will add much more flavor. Infusing overnight at room temp may not infuse as much flavor. 

2. I can't find my copy of Ratio at the moment. If you use boiling water, the custards will cook quicker. Cooler water will take longer but allow everything to heat at the same rate. Boiling water, as it hits the pans, will reduce in temp as heat is lost to the larger pan and the ramekins so the custard itself is not immediately at the boiling point. 

3. You can cool either way. Out of the bath is quicker and less problematic than trying to move the larger pan with the custards in it. 
 
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Joined Aug 4, 2000
 
1. A simmer will probably infuse more vanilla as the heat will release more oils/extracts. Of course if you  can spare the bean, splitting it open and scraping the seeds into the custard will add much more flavor. Infusing overnight at room temp may not infuse as much flavor. .....
Today and overnight I plan to infuse; tomorrow I'll heat the cream, milk and egg mixture prior to pouring into the egg and sugar mixture.  My question is this: will leaving the milk and cream mixture at room temperature overnight degrade the flavor????   Will the milk and cream mixture turn sour and degrade the flavor????

And btw allowing the vanilla bean to infuse a room temperature will extract more of its flavor.
 
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I doubt that you will get a noticeably better flavor by infusing overnight. And room temp seems like an unnecessary risk. There is probably good reason why that isn't the classic custard technique. I've made plenty of custard (as recently as yesterday, in fact) and can assure you that adding the vanilla seed while heating the dairy will give you powerful flavor.

But it sounds like an interesting experiment.
 
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If the milk/cream is fresh I don't think it would sour overnight, depending on how warm the room is. But if it did you may end up with something more like creme fraiche. As Brian said, sounds like an interesting experiment. It may work out just fine just not what you expected. But by all means report back and let us know what happened. 
 
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The 'brulee turned out tastey.  Next time, instead of pre-splitting and scraping the seeds from the bean and into the milk (along with the stem) to infuse overnight, I'll simply infuse the uncut bean and split/scrape it once removed from the heat the next day - just to see if there's any flavor difference (vanilla more pungent?).
 
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I respectfully disagree that milk and cream at room temp will infuse more vanilla flavor. If you heat the M&C then infuse overnight under refrigeration I believe you will see better results.Even better,  Heating the cream to infuse and cooling before use will not allow an older bean to develop that tangy flavor that extract has. Leaving the M&C out for that many hours will definitely expose the mixture to more of a chance of developing bacteria..

I would always take into consideration who is eating the product. I wouldn't leave milk out and serve babies, pregnant moms, elderly or anyone who might be compromised to fight bacteria.
 
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....................Even better,  Heating the cream to infuse and cooling before use will not allow an older bean to develop that tangy flavor that extract has. Leaving the M&C out for that many hours will definitely expose the mixture to more of a chance of developing bacteria..
I would always take into consideration who is eating the product. I wouldn't leave milk out and serve babies, pregnant moms, elderly or anyone who might be compromised to fight bacteria.
Point well taken!  Thanks for the suggestion.   /img/vbsmilies/smilies/laser.gif/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rollsmile.gif
 

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