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Cooking With Cream

Asked by Unknown. Answered on 23rd November 2010

Full question

everytime i cook with cream in the oven it always seems to curdle no matter what i do, is there any quick tip or kitchen know how to stop this from happening?

Our answer

It is not clear whether you are cooking the cream in a sauce or in a custard-type dessert such as the base of a creme brulee. Generally when cooking with cream you need a cream with a higher fat content, single (light) cream, low fat creme fraiche, sour cream and half and half will all tend to split if heated to boiling point so you need to use double or heavy cream or full fat creme fraiche. If you are baking a savoury dish with a creamy sauce it may be that the the liquid in the sauce is reducing too much in the oven so the water from the cream evaporates and just leaves behind the fat and milk solids. In this case either cover the dish tightly to reduce evaporation or add the cream in the last 10 minutes of cooking time, so that it just heats through.

If you are making baked custard type desserts then it is likely that either your oven is too hot or the cooking time is too long and it is actually the eggs in the recipe that are over cooking and causing curdling. For custard in ramekins or cups then use a bain marie - a roasting pan filled with hot water. This tempers the heat of the oven and allows the custard to cook more evenly. if it is a custard tart or quiche then check the temperature in the recipe and make sure that it is a cool enough oven - something along the lines of 150c/Gas Mk 2/300F.

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