I recently discovered this website and it's great! I'm trying to perfect my creme brulee recipe so I can give it to my friends. However, now that I have made the creme brulees around 4 times, I'm having some problems. The creme brulees seem to bubble on top and sometimes end up curdling. Two out of the four times, they came out perfect. I can tell right away whether they will turn out good by looking at them in the oven. If they have bubbles on top in the oven, they end up curdling. If they don't, they end up great.
Every time, I've been using the same recipe and doing everything the same way. The only difference has been the water temperature for the bain marie. The first and third times, I used hot water from a dispenser (I think it keeps water at 200F after boiling, which I do every time I refill it) and they turned out perfect. The second and fourth time, I boiled water in a kettle right after my custard base was finished. I then used this water in the bain marie after it boiled.
What's interesting is the fourth time I made it (probably also happened the second time, but I don't remember), it was curdled on the top half, but smooth on the bottom half where the ramekins were immersed in water. I'm not 100% sure if the water temperature makes a difference, or the oven temperature is the culprit. I have a relatively old oven and I'm not sure if it keeps temperature accurately. I should also note the third time I made it was with someone else's oven which was much newer than mine.
Anyone have any ideas on what I should try changing next time? Should I make another batch with hot water instead of boiling? Should I lower the oven temperature? Perfecting this recipe is taking a lot longer than I had hoped. My recipe is below:
4 egg yolks
1.5 cups cream
6 tbsp sugar
1/2 vanilla bean
Makes 4 6-oz servings. Baked in a 325F oven. Note that I dissolve the sugar in the cream rather than mixing the sugar with the yolks.