Do you beat your sugar into your egg yolks? I believe this will help your yolks stabilize some. Also, add milk a tablespoon at a time, if you have to, whisking CONSTANTLY.
Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.
Gosh, so sorry to hear of your troubles. The classic method is this:
1. Separate your yolks from whites. If you're not going to use the whites soon, freeze them.
2. Whisking all the while, add your sugar to your yolks. If you toss all the sugar in at once, you risk tearing all the water out of the yolks at once, leaving all sorts of sad cell walls behind once their water has been torn away.
3. Meanwhile, heat your cream to a scald, 165 degrees. Tiny bubbles will appear all around the border of the pot, and the surface will appear to move slightly.
4. Once your cream has reached a scald, whisk it into the yolk-sugar mixture slowly, whisking all the while.
5. Cover custard, with plastic wrap in contact with surface to prevent a skin from forming, overnight so that the proteins can fully expand while absorbing water molecules.
6. The next day, spin in an ice cream machine, and enjoy!
You definitely don't want to add the eggs at the beginning - that's a surefire way to get a lumpy custard.
We make ice cream almost every week during the summer, and this is the technique that seems to work best for me:
1. While the cream is heating up, whisk sugar and egg yolks together in a large mixing bowl.
2. Do not let the cream get too hot - just enough to see little wisps of steam. If it begins to simmer or boil, take it off the heat and let it cool down for a few minutes before proceeding.
3. Add a small amount of cream to the yolks to temper them - one or two ladlefuls, max. Whisk as the cream is being added, and keep going until it's completely incorporated (if you're worried about your bowl sliding around or falling over, set it on a dishtowel to stabilise it).
4. Now, pour in the rest of the cream in a thin stream, still whisking constantly. Do not stop whisking until the cream has been completely incorporated into the eggs.
5. Pour everything back into the saucepan, and cook until it thickens up. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula (my personal fave) - make sure you're scraping the bottom and the sides of the pan as you go, because that's where the custard is directly in contact with heat and most likely to curdle.
6. As soon as the custard thickens up, pour it into a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. Tah-dah!
Basically, as long as you whisk and stir constantly from the moment the milk touches the eggs and make sure to keep everything below boiling temperatures, it shouldn't curdle. And if you do get a little curdling despite all your efforts, there's an easy fix - just use an immersion blender to smooth it out again. No one will be any wiser, I promise. :)
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
Adding the eggs first won't make your custard successful. I add the milk mixture to the eggs using a 1-ounce ladle while constantly whisking the eggs. Be sure to add enough milk to the eggs in this manner, before pouring the whole thing back into the milk in the double boiler.
When I get that little curdle, I just push the custard through my tamis (very vine sieve).
I think the word everyone might be looking for is temper- You must temper your custard by adding a little of the warm cream to the egg mixture a little at a time. Sounds like your basically cooking your egg mixture to me. Good luck!
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