Help! My flavor disappeared!

438
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Joined Sep 29, 2009
I tried out a new custard based icing today that I found in one of my grandmother's cookbooks. It calls for artificial mint, but I hate artificial anything, so I broke out the peppermint oil.

The problem I'm having is that, with the real mint oil, all of the flavor is lost behind the custard. Any ideas from the pastry pros?

P.S. Times like this are why I always hired pastry chefs.
 
5,285
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Joined Oct 10, 2005
Try infusing the milk with a few bags of peppermint tea when you boil it for custard.

There are various types of peppermint oil. It's fairly common in supermarkets and the like, problem is, many places "cut" the extract with neutral oils. A good oil extract will blow the top of your head off when you open the bottle. Experiment around with various extracts and brands, also try "spearmint oil".

Hope this helps
 
3,355
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Joined May 29, 2006
There is Peppermint Extract
Oil of Peppermint
Peppermint Flavour
Imitation Peppermint Flavor All will produce different results.
 
161
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Joined Oct 19, 2009
Chefray, is this is a cream or a custard or a thickened sauce?

Peppermint is highly volatile, its piny notes (pinene) and its its distinctive cooling quality (menthol) are both readily lost and distracted. This happens because of the family of aromatics that it belongs to (terpenes).

They should always be added with as little heating as possible (not so easy with a set custard, but very easy with a cream), best as its cooling.

If its a thickened sauce then it could be that your flour is being too dominant in the mix, this can be improved by adding the peppermint oil later, and even better would be to remove the flour and use a different thickener.
I would reccommend gelatin in a very low concentration (0.6-1% depending on desired thickness).
 
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Joined Dec 21, 2009
Most artificial flavors are far more concentrated that natural oils. It may simply be that you need to use a little more. otherwise we need to know a little more about the main components and goals in your final product, to know if there are reactions or interactions.
Most oils are not water soluble and may need to be emulsified to be carried through the product.
 
438
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Joined Sep 29, 2009
I was using "make your eyes water" mint oil. It is a genuine custard, milk, cream, sugar, eggs, flavor. It's just not set. I think I may take the tea idea, using fresh mint, minced in a tea ball, and infusing after cooking but before it sets completely in the ice bath.

It comes out the consistency of butter cream, if that helps with any other ideas. Maybe you've made it with some success from experimentation?
 
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Joined Dec 21, 2009
From experimenting in beverages with this sort of challenge, there are a couple of things you could consider:

Cut back on the sugar - custard will be thicker, unless you cut back on the flour or egg.

If you are using flour - try using wheat or cornstarch instead. Unless you need to subject the custard to significant shear, starch will be fine.

Adding after cooking is complete is a very good idea, and will likely help improve a lot.

Add just a touch of vanilla to mask the egg and lift the mint to the foreground.
 
438
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Joined Sep 29, 2009
A combination of two things worked here. A few drops of vanilla extract and adding the oil after removing from the heat to chill, folding it in just before the ice bath.

Thanks a bunch guys.
 
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