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ginger creme brûlée keeps breaking - help!

tastycakes May 19, 2012 12:49 PM

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?

  1. w
    wyogal May 19, 2012 02:41 PM

    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
      babette feasts May 21, 2012 09:14 AM

      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.

    2. hotoynoodle May 19, 2012 02:38 PM

      what's the recipe?

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

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