Pete, maybe it's because I do mine in a convection, but if I so much as cover it with a warped sheetpan, the brulees that get too much direct heat will bubble. So I must cover them with a flat pan. But they come out incredibly smooth that way. Do you bake yours on a deck?
I bake my brulee in a hotel pan, 2 - 3 inches deep with water bath at 350 covered half way with a sheet pan. (usually the back half of the hotel pan). If there are bubbles on to of brulee before baking, I will take the tourch and "burn" them off for a smooth surface.
I find that if not covered, they boil. (350 deck and 325 convection)
I have great results by following this system.
My formula is based on this basic recipe:
1 qt cream (40%)
10 yolks (extra large)
2 whole eggs (extra large)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
1/2 lemon zest
2 cinnamon stix
pinch o' kosher salt
boil cream, sugar and flavor agents (to infuse the flavors).Cool slightly and pour over eggs while whisking briskly then strain. if the mix sits in the cooler for more than a few days, I will whisk in an additional egg.
For the top, I bake to dry 1# dark brown sugar, let cool and process in cusinart with equal amount of granulated until fine, sift and store.
Or you can use bar sugar. (super fine.)
They should take about 45 min. to an hour to set up. If the foil is not working to keep them from getting brown, try an inverted pan of the same size. That works for me. Also, the water does not have to come all the way up the sides. 1/2 inch is plenty. How deep are your brulees?
I make mini 2 oz. brulees for our sampler plates, so it doesn't really take too long, about 20-25 min. Bake them the same way as momoreg, 200 hotel pan with water, covered in foil in a 300 convection oven.
Maybe that is my prob. I don't have any shallow dishes. So they are taking a long time to set up...thus the browning...I guess. I cover them maybe an inch with water. This leaves 2/3 out of the water. I did the first ones almost half way up and I thought they would never set up.
FYI, they were wonderful! thanx for all the advice.
Interesting thing happened though: I made large batches (maybe that explains why they took so long)---about 50 or 60 to a batch. In a water bath covered with foil in hotel pans. One pan (they held 12 each) curdled. Only one pan. The only thing I could figure is that I covered this one too tight and the steam built up and .....
Just wondering........has anyone ever tried to make creme brulee without baking the custard? Heating it on the stovetop and stirring like mad?, then just pouring it in to cups? I'd like to know what the difference in texture is, if any.
the number of brulees in the batch should not have affected the cooking time by much. Generally, the ones that are exposed to direct heat from the oven are the ones that overcook.. It could be that your oven does not bake evenly? Or did you not put enough water into one of the pans?
If you made creme brulee on top of the stove you'd be making in essence a very thick creme anglaise, or custard. And the stirring would definitely have something to do with how the egg proteins line up and set. I don't think you'd get the same texture and it would be very easy to scramble it. Rose Levey Beranbaum has an interesting technique in the Pie and Pastry Bible for making lemon curd bars. She cooks the curd in a double boiler to a certain temp, and then pours it into a pre-baked shell and bakes it for ten min at a gentle heat. She says the protein molecules realign themselves and they do. Maybe this would work for creme brulee. Cook the custard to about 160 over hot water, then pour it into the cups, and bake for ten min in hot water bath in the oven. Stove top pudding, or custard, and baked custard have different textures and this might make them more the same.
I think you are right about the thick custard but that is how we make ours--all on the stove top and it is very easy to scramble it. But once you get the technique down it sure makes it easy to knock out 25 or 30 in one shot. I also think the final product is very good, the chef who taught me this went to school in Denmark for six years so maybe he knows something I don't.....I was suprised to see it done this way too, shocked is a better word but he is the pastry chef so.....I can post recipe if anyone is interested.
fontzmark, I cook my brulees on the stove top too. In spite of the frantic stirring, I think it's tons easier. I prefer the texture too, a lot silkier than the oven baked. I've found that for my recipe the higher-fat creams will mess it up though.
I added an espresso brulee to the menu this month and it's been selling really well. I just add a tablespoon of the ground bean to the cream and cut out some of the vanilla. I'm pouring the mix in a coffee cup and they're serving it on a saucer just like a cup of coffee. A chocolate dipped spoon on the side for garnish and that's it but everyone loves it.