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Plastic Wrap to Line a Terrine?!

Sallie May 25, 2009 04:45 PM

I bought a beautiful book this weekend on making terrines of all types--veg., seafood, meat, cheese, dessert, traditional and unusual. (Terrine by Stephane Reynaud, Phaidon) It is full of things that look gorgeous and delicious. HOWEVER, many of the recipes dictate using plastic wrap to line the terrine, which is then cooked in a water bath in a 350-degree oven for 40 minutes. This seems like insanity to me. Does the water bath somehow moderate the temperature effect on the plastic wrap too? It is a British book--does British "cling film" have a higher melting point? I am not really wiling to test this out on my Le Creuset terrine. I'm picturing plastic melted to the inside forever. Thoughts? Intelligence? Parchment paper instead?

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  1. j
    jmnewel RE: Sallie May 25, 2009 04:56 PM

    The terrine (I mean the pan itself) lined with plastic wrap, then filled, then baked in a water bath, does not get all that hot. The plastic wrap does not get glued onto the pan forevermore. It sort of shrivels a bit. Whether or not it gets hot enough for chemicals to leach out into the food, somebody with some knowledge will have to answer that question.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jmnewel
      Sallie RE: jmnewel May 25, 2009 05:50 PM

      So you've used this method before? I am just skeptical as I have read that plastic wrap's melting point is ~250 degrees. So while the water bath will moderate the temperature, it seems odd that it would be able to moderate the temperature by 100 degrees. Do you cook yours at a lower temperature than 350?

    2. s
      smtucker RE: Sallie May 25, 2009 05:50 PM

      The plastic wrap doesn't get too hot. I know. Very hard to believe. To be honest, the only reason to use anything is if you want to remove the terrine from the cooking vehicle and "present" it on a platter. If you plan to cut your slices in the terrine and serve one slice at a time, you can skip the plastic [assuming there is lots of fat in the recipe.]

      1. David A. Goldfarb RE: Sallie May 25, 2009 08:24 PM

        The water bath shouldn't even reach the boiling point, so there shouldn't be any danger of melting plastic wrap, but the sorts of terrines and pates that I'm likely to make are much more likely to be wrapped in something tasty like pancetta, speck, or prosciutto, which don't require plastic wrap. I've put quenelles in plastic wrap in boiling water to test a pate or sausage mix, and the plastic doesn't melt.

        You can also get terrine molds with removable pins that allow you to remove the sides without risk of breaking the molded pate.

        1. k
          KiltedCook RE: Sallie May 26, 2009 04:42 AM

          I make boudin and all-meat sausages and often just double roll it in "cling film" to make simple sausage casing. I then simmer the sausage in a skillet of boiling water with no melting of the film at all. It won't hurt your precious La Creuset; honest...

          6 Replies
          1. re: KiltedCook
            Sallie RE: KiltedCook May 28, 2009 01:38 PM

            I'll tell you what--the thing that spooked me was a post on a blog about making a flourless chocolate cake. Same method: water bath, 350F. The plastic melted to the inside of her cake pan and she had to throw it out. So... As I said above, boiling water is not my concern (since it's below the melt point of plastic wrap, 250).

            1. re: Sallie
              alkapal RE: Sallie May 29, 2009 04:27 AM

              i've seen many threads wherein hounds talk about oven cooking ribs wrapped in plastic then foil.

              1. re: alkapal
                Fritter RE: alkapal May 29, 2009 06:55 AM

                Wrapping ribs with plastic wrap then foil works very nicely.

              2. re: Sallie
                Fritter RE: Sallie May 29, 2009 07:03 AM

                If you are going to make a chocolate flourless torte what works well is to remove the bottom of a springform pan and trace the circle on parchment then cut it out. Rub the sides and bottom lightly with butter, assemble the pan, stick the parchment circle on the bottom, butter the top of that and then toss some flour into the pan and swirl it around until every thing is very lightly coated with flour.
                Now you could argue that you no longer truly have a "flourless" torte but this method works well unless there is a reason you can not consume any flour.

                1. re: Fritter
                  Sallie RE: Fritter Jun 5, 2009 09:29 AM

                  Yes, am familiar with this method. The reason that I mentioned the cake was that the temperature set-up was the same for this person's cake recipe as for the terrine recipes and the plastic wrap melted to her pan. So am not entirely sure that it is fool-proof.

                  1. re: Sallie
                    Fritter RE: Sallie Jun 5, 2009 10:54 AM

                    Some brands of plastic wrap do not hold up however I have never seen any brand melt so bad at the temps listed here that you would ever need to throw a pan away. Typically it just shrivels and when it cools you can peel it right off.
                    Stick with a major brand and you won't have any issues.

            2. MMRuth RE: Sallie May 26, 2009 05:53 AM

              I have cooked a number of pates in my LC terrine, and have never used plastic wrap. In my experience (including making a terrine of foie gras), the pate shrinks from the pan a little, and pops right out when I want to remove it. If I were making one that just got chilled, rather than cooked, I would line it to make removal easier.

              8 Replies
              1. re: MMRuth
                greedygirl RE: MMRuth May 26, 2009 07:59 AM

                I'm making Elizabeth David's Chicken Liver Paté this afternoon for a dinner party at the weekend, and I plan to use a tip I picked up from Simon Hopkinson. He uses those silver foil trays that you get Indian and Chinese takeaways in, the ones with the cardboard lids. (Page 89 of Week In, Week Out, if you're interested. It means that they're very easy to turn out, and you can stack one on top of the other for weighting purposes).

                I tried to buy a terrine today and failed - for some reason they are quite hard to find (in England). Does noone make homemade terrines any more?

                1. re: greedygirl
                  David A. Goldfarb RE: greedygirl May 26, 2009 08:11 AM

                  Polcyn and Ruhlman in their book, _Charcuterie_, suggest that in their experience the vessel doesn't really matter, particularly for a terrine that's cooked in the oven in a bain marie. The Le Creuset terrine has become an industry standard, they write, and the break-apart pans can be convenient particularly for a long narrow terrine that might break easily when unmolded, or if you like the decorative pattern of the mold, but they are by no means necessary. Liverwurst and sausages of that type are pates that are often poached in an inedible plastic or cellulose casing. I've used aluminum foil pans. Normally I use narrow metal loaf pans.

                  1. re: David A. Goldfarb
                    alkapal RE: David A. Goldfarb May 29, 2009 04:30 AM

                    i have the le creuset terrine, but i'd suggest a loaf pan, too.

                  2. re: greedygirl
                    MMRuth RE: greedygirl May 26, 2009 08:12 AM

                    That is a good tip. When I was in London, I saw them at Divertimenti in Marylebone High Street:


                    1. re: MMRuth
                      greedygirl RE: MMRuth May 26, 2009 09:48 AM

                      I saw one there too, but it was probibitively expensive. I will probably pick one up in France in a few week's time.

                      1. re: greedygirl
                        MMRuth RE: greedygirl May 26, 2009 09:54 AM

                        Yes - they were expensive.

                        1. re: MMRuth
                          greedygirl RE: MMRuth May 26, 2009 10:29 AM

                          I love that shop, but the prices make me weep!

                  3. re: MMRuth
                    Sallie RE: MMRuth May 28, 2009 01:27 PM

                    This has been my experience when I make meat pates, too. The ones he suggested using the plastic wrap for were more like quenelle consistency, cheeses, fish mousses, etc. I think it's as much for structural integrity in the unmolding as anything else. Haven't tried it yet...

                  4. hotoynoodle RE: Sallie May 26, 2009 08:41 AM

                    i use plastic wrap all the time for this with no problem. it also makes a clean-up a snap.

                    for veg terrines i have also used grape leaves which makes for a pretty presentation on a platter when you unfold them.

                    you can use nearly any vessel, depending on the shape you're after. i use a pullman pan or loaf pans and cake pans of varying sizes.

                    1. Candy RE: Sallie May 26, 2009 11:39 AM

                      I've always used plastic wrap, Stretch Tight is my preference. It really does help keeping the terrine compact and eases removal from the pan. I too have the LC but also have some ovals. It really depends on what sort of terrine or pate I am making for which I use and sometimes the pan/baker gets lined with bacon or caul fat.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Candy
                        MMRuth RE: Candy May 26, 2009 11:42 AM

                        I've done that too w/ bacon or caul fat, and it releases so much fat that one need not worry about removing the "loaf".

                        1. re: Candy
                          Sallie RE: Candy May 28, 2009 01:41 PM

                          What oven temp. do you use? Was thinking about dropping the suggested temp (350) a bit.

                        2. Fritter RE: Sallie May 29, 2009 06:47 AM

                          Lining with plastic wrap works very well and has been used to form galantine's in professional kitchens that get poached or steamed as long as I can remember. The only caveat at home is to use quality plastic wrap. The stuff at Costco for example will not hold up to the heat. If any of your plastic wrap is outside your Le Creuset terrine it may melt so keep it folded in under the lid.
                          I've used small bread pans lined with plastic wrap many times.
                          Since I believe David mentioned the pate pans with pins as well as the Le Creuset here is a photo of the two in case others have never seen a pate pan with pins.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Fritter
                            alkapal RE: Fritter May 29, 2009 03:23 PM

                            fritter, those are nicely done photos. thanks!

                          2. phofiend RE: Sallie May 29, 2009 07:24 AM

                            I find that the original brand Saran Wrap is very sturdy, and doesn't soften as other brands do when exposed to heat.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: phofiend
                              Will Owen RE: phofiend Jun 5, 2009 11:07 AM

                              Unfortunately, Saran Wrap apparently is no longer made with Saran. Something about its manufacture being bad for the environment or carcinogenic or some damn thing. I loved it and miss it dreadfully; I still buy the brand, but it ain't what it used to be.

                              1. re: Will Owen
                                Candy RE: Will Owen Jun 5, 2009 01:46 PM

                                Will try Stretch Tite, you can order it from King Arthur, also Freeze Tite. Sometimes Costco has it too. The best!

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