Test Kitchen tips: Straining cooked custard
When you cook a custard on the stove-top, the recipe usually requires that you strain the custard after thickening. Straining helps to remove any bits of curdled or cooked egg from the custard, so your final product is silky and smooth.
Much as you might be tempted to, do not press the cooked custard through the strainer with a spatula. Let the custard work its way through the strainer on its own (you can shake the strainer lightly or stir gently with a spatula to help move things along). Pressing the custard with a spoon or spatula will force those curdled bits through the strainer, ruining that smooth texture and giving the custard a grainy feel.
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo: Straining custard over a layer of caramel. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times