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Aug 4, 2013 10:55 PM

HELP! Creme brulee is too milky!

Made the horrible error of using Alton Brown's creme brulee recipe from the Food Network, and going into the oven the custard looks pure white!



I normally use the recipe in the Joy of Cooking, which is amazing, but today I thought I'd be adventurous... Now I need to scrap these and go buy a whole new carton of heavy cream, eggs and vanilla bean. >_<

What do you all think of this recipe?
What proportion of egg to cream do you use?

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  1. AB's recipe specifies six egg yolks for a quart of heavy cream. That seems about right to me, have you cooked the custard yet? Maybe the egg yolks you used were pale colored?

    6 Replies
    1. re: janniecooks

      I think it's just a preference. The eggs were fine and I've made creme brûlée a lot, but most recipes I've compared it to use way more egg yolk to cream. Alton's is 3.5 yolks:2 cups cream, whereas Joy of Cooking is 8 yolks: 2 cups cream. Am wondering what is more traditional?

      1. re: delleelise

        I think a smaller quantity of yolks to cream is more traditional. More yolks will produce a heavier/thicker or stiffer texture. I recently made a custard with six yolks to 2 cups cream and it had a much much thicker texture than I prefer and than what I was expecting. I had a creme brulee in a restaurant a week or so ago where the texture was silky and almost jiggly, a smooth, silken and light texture. Comparing that heavenly dish with my heavier dish, I conclude that next time I must use fewer yolks.

        1. re: janniecooks

          How interesting! It must be a preference. When I make the 8 yolk: 2 cups cream ratio, people go crazy for them. When you use more yolk it's more dense but more flavorful, decadent & rich, like slicing through butter. This recipe just didn't do it for me. Never had a creme brûlée in all my travels through France that was like this. Hmmm. To each his own.

          1. re: delleelise

            Dense...yes, that was the word I was searching for to describe the texture of custard made with more yolks.

            As you say, it is a preference to some degree. As to lacking flavor, perhaps the vanilla bean you used was lacking freshness.

          2. re: janniecooks

            Correction: the custard I made recently had only 3 yolks to 2 cups of cream, not 6 as I mis-remembered. Still, with 3 yolks:2 cups cream, the texture was too thick and dense.

            1. re: janniecooks

              You may have also mismeasured something.

              3 yolks to 2 cups cream is about 157ml/yolk. This is on the extreme high end of the cream to yolk ratio - the same used in the Alton Brown recipe, and you end up with a very very soft consistency. Most other recipes hover around 90-100 ml/yolk.

              I prefer it on the denser side, around 80ml/yolk, and that ratio has gotten rave receptions from tasters. But then, I used yolks from the largest eggs I could find, so my ratio is probably closer to 90-100ml/yolk for a regular large egg.

              Next time I make brulee, I'll weigh the yolks to get an even better comparison.

      2. I've used this recipe before with no issues. Are you sure you followed it correctly? Why do you think it won't set?

        1. That recipe looks about right to me.

          1. How did it turn out? I guess it is a preferential thing, a crème brûlée is served in the dish, so often times it is more silky and soft.where as a flan or crème caramel that is overturned onto a Plate would have more egg yolks so that it is more solid, like Jell-O

            1 Reply
            1. re: youareabunny

              They turned out fine- just not rich or decadent enough for my taste. It's very jiggly, very pale and lacks flavor. Oh well! I think Julia Childs recipe is better, it's in the middle in terms of the ratio of yolk to cream.