As some of you may have noticed, I'm on the trails of making
perfect good creme brulee.
Recently I've had great success and ended up with creme brulee of nice consistency... however there the top layer seems to be thicker and harder than the rest.
Allow me to elaborate:
After taking the creme out of the oven and allowing it to set in a fridge and before melting sugar on top I find that the top layer of my creme (about a cm's width) is hard and if I press on it it "breaks" almost like it froze on the top like surface water freezes into ice.
Below that layer the creme is like caramel, it's not hard at all and the "hardness" of this top layer is not caused by the low temperature of the fridge (I think).
Could this be because I bake my creme in a bain marie / water bath in an oven with both the top and bottom element on (i.e. the ramkins are getting heat from the top and bottom/sides)?
- 3 egg yolks
- 250ml whipping cream
- 70ml plain white granulated refined sugar (should be the same kind people put in everything)
I put the yolks, cream and sugar in the mixer bowl. Let the mixer mix them for a couple of minutes, pour into ramekins. Put the ramekins in a deep pan. Fill the pan with water so that the water covers the ramekins about halfway. Watch that no water gets in the ramekins. Turn the oven on. Put a thermometer in the water. When the water gets to ~85 degrees Celsius, leave it like that for a while. Turn oven off, let cool.
After all that the custard is still "soft". It continues to be soft after cooled to a little warmer than room temperature. Only after left alone for an hour or two does it develop this "crust".
I just made Creme Brulee with only the bottom heating element turned on - same thing happened.
I should mention this happens only after the cremes are cooled - when taking them straight out of the oven there is no harder upper layer. Could it be that, akin to pudding, it dries up if you do not cover it in plastic wrap? This does not happen with crem caramel (a close relative of creme brulee).
Maybe I should mention I am cooking them for longer at a lower temperature than most recipes? But please don't jump to conclusions that this is the reason if you do not have some solid reason of thinking so.