Does anyone know how to add citrus to dairy and bake them without curdling

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Joined May 2, 2018
Hey there, so I have been trying to make a passion fruit flan for quite a while now and always end up with the same obvious result, the citrus curdles the milk. People have told me to try and add just the powder from the powdered milk into the mixture to prevent curdling, which did not work. Now I am thinking about maybe just substituting the evaporated milk from the can completely with powdered evaporated milk (already added to the water) to see if it will result in any difference. This dessert has such a perfect beautiful creamy texture when done right. I've done it with many other flavors that don't involve citrus, but this one is really tricky and I need some help figuring this out. I use evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, eggs, and vanilla and bake at 350 degrees. Does anyone have any solutions to avoid the passion fruit from curdling the milk?

Additionally, does anyone have any advice on raising the pH of the juice that won't change the flavor, because I know that will work as well but its hard to find solutions that won't change the flavor like baking soda or anything like that.

Thanks so much for your help in advance.
 
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How are you adding the citrus? if you are using juice it will curdle,. However grated zest like orange or lemon will usually work well. Alternatively orange or lemon extract will work too.
 
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I agree with Pat Pat about the eggs. Are you mixing your dairy and eggs thoroughly before adding the passion fruit?

I wouldn't switch to powdered, evaporated milk is less likely to curdle as it has already been cooked.

Or maybe use cream instead of milk?
 
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Hi shanelle_s95 and welcome to CT! :)

If your flan is curdling or ending up with a lumpy/custard-like texture, here are some possible explanations for that.

1. Air bubbles = lumpy texture. Passing the mixture through a sieve will help eliminate any bubbles and air pockets and strain any bits or chunks that may have formed. Also, when the ingredients are combined, avoid using whipping or beating motions to prevent the formation of air bubbles. Try folding when combining the ingredients.

2. Always use gentle heat. Low and slow is the key here. A little undercooked is always better than overcooked.

3. To prevent the sides from cooking faster than the center, try lining the bottom of the baking pan with a kitchen towel and use a hot water bath. Make sure the water is not boiling. Simply fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins. The towel and the water will insulate the flan and prevent the sides from cooking faster than the centers.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
 

phatch

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Use the zest/extract as described. Then use the juice in making your caramel perhaps.
 
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how much juice are you using in proportion to you egg and cream?

My suggestion would be to take the juice you are using and reduce it down in a pan, and cool it before adding it to your custard.
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
I make a lemon one with 1 part milk, 2 1/4 parts lemon juice, 2 1/2 parts eggs, and 3 3/4 parts sugar.

I also add about 1/4 part flour as a stabilizer.

Always comes out nice and smooth.

Maybe try adding some all-purpose flour to your recipe to prevent the eggs from curdling.
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
How are you adding the citrus? if you are using juice it will curdle,. However grated zest like orange or lemon will usually work well. Alternatively orange or lemon extract will work too.
Hey, yes I am adding the goya passion fruit pulp that was frozen so it's as close as it comes to the real thing. As I don't have the actual fruit so zest, unfortunately, isn't an option.
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
I agree with Pat Pat about the eggs. Are you mixing your dairy and eggs thoroughly before adding the passion fruit?

I wouldn't switch to powdered, evaporated milk is less likely to curdle as it has already been cooked.

Or maybe use cream instead of milk?
Yes, everything is mixed thoroughly, and I have tried a few times putting the just in the sugar to make the syrup but when the custard goes on top and bakes, it always curdles the top., which is super unfortunate because even that would have been a solution.
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
I agree with Pat Pat about the eggs. Are you mixing your dairy and eggs thoroughly before adding the passion fruit?

I wouldn't switch to powdered, evaporated milk is less likely to curdle as it has already been cooked.

Or maybe use cream instead of milk?
I may try the cream though and see how that works, although it won't have the classic taste, it may hold up better. I'll be sure to let you know how it goes!
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
Hi shanelle_s95 and welcome to CT! :)

If your flan is curdling or ending up with a lumpy/custard-like texture, here are some possible explanations for that.

1. Air bubbles = lumpy texture. Passing the mixture through a sieve will help eliminate any bubbles and air pockets and strain any bits or chunks that may have formed. Also, when the ingredients are combined, avoid using whipping or beating motions to prevent the formation of air bubbles. Try folding when combining the ingredients.

2. Always use gentle heat. Low and slow is the key here. A little undercooked is always better than overcooked.

3. To prevent the sides from cooking faster than the center, try lining the bottom of the baking pan with a kitchen towel and use a hot water bath. Make sure the water is not boiling. Simply fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins. The towel and the water will insulate the flan and prevent the sides from cooking faster than the centers.

I hope this helps. Good luck.
Hi, thanks for the warm welcome. The flan I make actually turns out beautiful and creamy every time when I make regular, strawberry, coconut, and dulce de leche flan so the flan itself isn't the problem, its that I am trying to add citrus to it that is rendering the flan problematic.
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
how much juice are you using in proportion to you egg and cream?

My suggestion would be to take the juice you are using and reduce it down in a pan, and cool it before adding it to your custard.
Hi, does reducing it somehow bring down the acidity? I honestly am not using much for the sugar I use may 2 tbs of the juice, and in the actual flan mixture, I will use max 3 tbs, although I'd like to use more but I've just been experimenting with different options and have had the same conclusion for all. I will try the reduction though.
 
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Joined May 2, 2018
I make a lemon one with 1 part milk, 2 1/4 parts lemon juice, 2 1/2 parts eggs, and 3 3/4 parts sugar.

I also add about 1/4 part flour as a stabilizer.

Always comes out nice and smooth.

Maybe try adding some all-purpose flour to your recipe to prevent the eggs from curdling.
Thanks, I'll try that. I use sweetened condensed milk, evap. milk, eggs, and the sugar only for the syrup so how much flour are you talking about, tsps, tbs, or about a 1/4 cup?
 

phatch

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Check the ingredients on your frozen fruit. They might be adding an acid to prevent browning and for freshness. It's possible the frozen fruit is more acidic than fresh.
 
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A Brazilian friend told me about a creamy dessert (kind of like a pudding, maybe?) that is made with "media cream", a few other things I can't remember and passion concentrate. It's mixed in a blender and I honestly don't remember if they baked it or it wa a no-bake recipe. I've always been fascinated by it, but haven't tried it. Instead of using the passion juice or puree, try it with bottled passion concentrate and see if that makes a difference. The concentrate is supposed to be thicker (in the way that nectar is thicker than juice).
 
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Hi, thanks for the warm welcome. The flan I make actually turns out beautiful and creamy every time when I make regular, strawberry, coconut, and dulce de leche flan so the flan itself isn't the problem, its that I am trying to add citrus to it that is rendering the flan problematic.

Have you tried using citrus extracts? I agree with the previous statement that frozen fruit likely has additional acids added as a freshness preservative. If frozen citrus is your only option, try cutting the citrus with a pinch of baking soda to neutralize the acid before adding it to the recipe.

Otherwise, try using a citrus extract or fresh citrus sources.

I hope this helps. Good luck. :)
 
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Joined Sep 26, 2017
Thanks, I'll try that. I use sweetened condensed milk, evap. milk, eggs, and the sugar only for the syrup so how much flour are you talking about, tsps, tbs, or about a 1/4 cup?

I use about 3% of the total mixture, by weight.

I still think it's the eggs that curdled. Acid can curdle the eggs as easily as it can the milk.

Are you resting your mixture before baking by any chance? With a mixture containing acid, the longer it sits the more likely it will curdle.

Also, sugar helps prevent curdling. Too little of it will make your flan more prone to curdling.
 
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