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Stirring Creme Brulee

Asked by jucostello. Answered on 12th November 2013

Full question

Hi Team! I've just made Nigella's Creme Brûlée. It's looking good but I do have one query. When I return the custard mix back to the pan over a medium heat should I be stirring it? I didn't stir it and it got a little burnt on the bottom. Haven't tasted the finished product yet but am very hopeful! Thank you.

Our answer

There are two ways to make creme brulee. One is by baking the custard in a water bath. The other, and the method used by Nigella in her Creme Brulee recipe (from Nigella Bites and on the Nigella website) is by cooking the custard in a saucepan over a low to medium heat.

It is important to stir the custard constantly while it is cooking and a wooden or heatproof silicone spoon or spatula is the best implement for this. Egg mixtures are very sensitive to heat and can overcook quickly, causing a lumpy custard. Stirring helps the mixture to heat evenly and reduces this risk. Make sure that you get your spoon right into the corners of the pan whille stirring. If the custard looks like it is overcooking (small flecks or lumps will appear) then immediately dip the base of the pan into the sinkful of cold water and whisk (as instructed in Nigella's method) to cool it down.

If you have some burned custard on the base of the pan then you may not have been stirring enough. Also make sure that you wash out the saucepan properly after heating the cream and before returning the custard to the pan. Any cream left on the base of the pan can also catch and burn once the pan is returned to the heat.

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