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May 13, 2005 03:50 PM

Need custard help, please

  • c

I'm making this kind of lemon/lime custard (the recipe actually calls it a "cream," which it has plenty of) and the mixture curdled. Not giant lumps, but subtle ones. Can I still bake it? Is it okay to eat? I don't have cream, so I can't make another.

It's just for family, so I don't care if it's not pretty or perfect. I just want to go ahead and make it, if that's okay.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. Can you give us an idea of the recipe and what you did prior to curdling? Were you cooking it? You might be able to strain it and go on, but I need more info from you.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      You combine cream, eggs, superfine sugar, citrus juices and zest, and steep in fridge for a long time. Then it's baked in a water bath. I think straining before cooking (also suggested by the other who responded) is a great idea. As I said in my response, I will lose the nice grated zest but it'll be smoother. I'm assuming baking won't make it worse, once it's strained, right?

      It's my first time making this recipe. Thanks for your help.

      1. re: Clarissa

        Correct. And, if the cream has steeoed with the zest it should have picked up the flavor of it and the straining will give you a nice smooth custard.

        1. re: Clarissa

          if you want to still have the zest in when you bake it, you could strain it, and then add some more zest to the strained product. provided you have more. if you don't all the flavor should have imparted during the steeping.

      2. I had the same thing happen to me recently when I made a soup and added milk. It curdled b/c the temp. was too high and it boiled. If you used full fat cream, then it usually doesn't curdle, but I'm assuming that your recipe had alot of acid from citrus juice. Believe it helps if citrus is added after egg custard has cooled a bit or at least off heat.

        First, curdling in this context doesn't compromise the "safety" of the dish, as far as I know, so it's eatable. In fact, if you taste the custard, I bet you can't even really feel the lumps in your mouth.

        My solution w/ my soup was to add more cream and that helped to smooth out the appearance. Since you don't have any more cream, then you can strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve. Just let the liquid run through and don't press on the lumps. This should help extract larger lumps and make the custard smoother.

        Assume you will be baking in a water bath? Too high of heat can also sabotage smooth texture as bubbles can form in the custard, so I've always left my oven lower than recipes have called for. Usually around 300-325F w/ a sheet of foil just loosely covering the top so it doesn't brown. This increases baking time but results in the most flawless velvety texture. Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: Carb Lover

          The citrus is added to the cream and eggs and allowed to steep in the fridge for a while. It curdled when they were combined. Your idea is an excellent one. I'm going to put the whole thing through my fine mesh chinois before baking. I'll lose the zest but it should help make it smooth. Also, it'll take care of small egg lumps, which drive me crazy, anyway.


        2. c
          Custard follow-up

          After it had steeped for a while more, I put it through the strainer. It didn't appear curdled exactly, so I may have been wrong. It was more like there was a dramatic separation between the cream and citrus, and the cream/egg side was thickened or something. I mixed it up and strained it, and what came out was nice and smooth. I'm glad the suggestions here reminded me to strain it no matter what the problem, since finding even the tiniest lump of cooked eggwhite is a huge turnoff to me. It's baking right now.

          I would have added a bit of extra lime zest but I didn't see the post which suggested it until the ramekins went into the oven. I think it steeped for long enough to impart some zesty flavor, but I'll keep it in mind for next time.

          Thanks for the helpful suggestions.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Custard follow-up

            Whoops -- I think I put "Custard Follow-up" as my name. It's a fine name, but not my real one.