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Old 03-26-2006, 05:19 PM   #1
 
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Default i am a cream sauce failure...



every time i try to make a cheese sauce or cream sauce from scratch, it curdles and separates.

i've followed the instructions to a T every time...

what could i be doing wrong?????
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Old 03-26-2006, 06:04 PM   #2
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low and slow. do not let it come to a boil at all.

if you're making a bechamel, I like either equal parts flour and butter (real butter, no margerine, unsalted) or slightly less flour than butter.

Having your liquids all ready warm makes the mixing easier. Add liquids 1 cup at a time.

Your bechamel is done when you take a wooden spoon, dip it in the sauce and run your finger down the sauce, If the sauce doesnt run together on the spoon, it's done.

Lemon flavored cream sauces are really tough so I cheat by adding lemon zest (grating the outside of the lemon peel w/o going down to the bitter white part).


hth!

edited to add:

when you add the butter usually it melts, then foams a bit. You want to add the flour after the foam subsides, but before the the butter starts to turn golden.
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Old 03-27-2006, 05:15 AM   #3
 
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it was a carbonara sauce - white wine, heavy cream, eggs, parmesan and romano cheeses grated, onions sauteed in bacon fat.

*sigh*
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Old 03-27-2006, 10:51 AM   #4
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you cannot get the cream too warm or the eggs will curdle. Also, use a whisk to add in the eggs and beat furiously. If you ever warmed up a bottle for a baby, I'd aim for that temperature.

my cheat method: cook the pancetta until crisp and set aside.
Add room temperature eggs and cream together in a mixing bowl, then pour over warm pasta and mix immediately.Then add fresh chopped herbs & parmesan on top. The warmed pasta should be enough to raise the temperature and cook the eggs w/ out curdling it. I've never used white wine in my carbonara. For the onions, I'd cook that seperately and then toss them in after I added the cream sauce.
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Old 03-27-2006, 03:52 PM   #5
 
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thanks, webbie, it's worth a try!

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Old 03-27-2006, 04:01 PM   #6
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any warmed sauce that combines dairy and milk is very difficult. You should be very proud when it turns out.
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Old 03-27-2006, 06:02 PM   #7
 
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Just chiming in here, ladies - I was taught to leave the whites of the eggs out of sauces, otherwise it's a little custardy. Maybe that will help you, Rou, in your white sauce ventures.

Webjockey - I too have issues with savory lemon cream sauces - I cheat by making them too thick, then thinning it down with the lemon juice after it's cooled a bit. So if either of you ever come across a good recipe - please send it my way!
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Old 03-27-2006, 08:54 PM   #8
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oh yes, carbonara sauces do not have egg whites in them, just the yolks. I just assumed the recipe mentioned that.


Meryn,
When you say savory sauce, do you mean you want it to have a dark base, chicken stock, or something else
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Old 03-28-2006, 05:15 AM   #9
 
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hmmm... the 3 recipes i consulted on Epicurious all said to use the whole egg, not just the yolks!

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Old 03-28-2006, 01:45 PM   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WebjockeyGuide
oh yes, carbonara sauces do not have egg whites in them, just the yolks. I just assumed the recipe mentioned that.


Meryn,
When you say savory sauce, do you mean you want it to have a dark base, chicken stock, or something else
Just a "non-dessert" lemon cream sauce, with a roux and cream base.
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Old 04-03-2006, 10:34 PM   #11
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it sounds like you're looking for beurre blanc. It can be tough to make as it is very unstable, but of course, you can cheat a bit.


1 shallot
2 tbs white wine
8 oz good quality unsalted butter cut into small cubes & slightly softened

salt & pepper to taste

in a small pot combine thinly sliced shallot wine and lemon juice and bring to a boil. when the liquid is almost gone, remove from heat and SLOWLY add the butter a bit at a time using a wisk to combine well. you dont want the butter to completely melt before adding the next one. the idea is to creat an emulsified sauce. If your sauce starts to seperate - game over.


the cheat:

after the wine/shallot lemon juice has reduced add your heavy cream, wisk and reduce to a thick emulsion. then remove the pot from the heat and do the butter add. this will make the sauce more stable. go easy on the cream since you want the flavor of the butter and tartness of the lemon/wine to come through.

You can also add some fresh herbs & lemon zest to the mix.

The sauce should be kinda lukewarm when your done with all the mixing. Let the heat of the main dish warm it up.
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Old 04-13-2006, 11:29 AM   #12
 
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I just saw this, webjockey - thanks! I'll give it a whirl with my next fish dish.
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Old 04-16-2006, 08:36 AM   #13
 
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i do a very simple cream sauce by mixing cream, tomato paste, onion, lemon juice, herbs, mushroom, olive oil, butter at a very low temperature and never had problems, never used eggs in any sauce though
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