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May 19, 2012 12:49 PM

ginger creme brûlée keeps breaking - help!

i need to make ginger creme brûlée in a large pan to serve family style, not in ramekins. i am an experienced pastry chef so i can't for the life of me figure out why it keeps breaking. from the looks of the pot, it broke before i even baked it. the finished product had lumps of butterfat all throughout and had a fat slick on top. i tried it once in a water bath at 325 with foil covering, vented. then i tried again at 315 uncovered. any suggestions? i think i'm steeping the ginger too long. does it have an enzyme or acid that would curdle the cream?

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  1. what's the recipe?

    you definitely don't need to vent it during cooking. bake uncovered, but that wouldn't have broken the custard.

    1. My guess is that yes, it's the ginger. It has the same enzyme that breaks down protein as tenderizers. (I just did a google: ginger enzyme cream breaking)
      Maybe you could do it without the ginger, then use a ginger sauce or garnish with candied ginger.

      1 Reply
      1. re: wyogal

        Agreed, too much fresh ginger will make dairy separate, especially once heated. I learned this when adding fresh ginger juice to ice cream base and having it separate. Dried powdered ginger does not have this effect. When adding dried spices to custards, I add them to the egg/sugar mix rather than to the liquid, as I find they incorporate better and don't just float on top.