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How to Cook Custard in the Steam Oven

Updated: Feb 11, 2023

Steam ovens have become a popular appliance in recent years, however, cooking with steam has long been used in many aspects of cooking. The water-bath for example is a brilliant method of using gently simmering water to temper heat as a method to cook delicate foods such as custard.

Custard is a fairly indulgent dessert of cream, egg yolks, sugar and vanilla that when combined and gently cooked forms a smooth silky texture. It can be made with a caramel sauce that pours over the custard when it is unmolded or served with a brittle sugar topping. A custard can also be prepared with a savory filling for a delicious appetizer.

Cooking Custard in the Steam Oven vs a Water Bath

When custards are baked in a water bath, the ramekins with the custard are placed in a baking dish, then water is carefully poured into the baking dish until it comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. The dish is then covered with foil and baked for approximately 40 minutes. This process is definitely made easier if you have an oven with racks that extend fully, otherwise it can be a tricky endeavor especially when it comes time to remove the dish filled with hot water and the cooked custards.

The process is definitely easier in a Steam oven. The ramekins can be placed on a rimmed baking sheet or in the large perforated pan that comes with the oven then you simply slide the tray into the oven, no water needs to be added to the pan. Once the custards are cooked just slide the pan out of the oven and set it aside to cool the custards before placing them in the refrigerator to chill.

Best Cooking Mode and Temperature for Cooking Custard in the Steam Oven

To cook custard in the Steam oven select the Combination Convection Steam mode and set the temperature to 220F (104C) and slide the tray with the ramekins onto the middle rack in the oven and set the timer for 40 minutes. Check the custard and if it isn’t firm to the touch, continue cooking for another 5 - 10 minutes if needed.

Finishing Custard in the Oven

Making custard is not difficult, but it does take time and you need to pay careful attention to the initial cooking when heating the cream and incorporating the eggs to avoid scrambling them. Once cooked the custards need to chill for at least 6 hours, so advance planning is key.

Serving Creme Caramel or Flan is easy, you simply unmold the custard onto a dish; however, if you are making Creme Brulée then you will need to sprinkle a layer of sugar over each ramekin and place them under the Broiler for about 5 minutes to caramelize the sugar. The sugar can also be caramelized with a small culinary blowtorch and this method does provide the most even results.

I followed a simple recipe from NY Times Cooking and the results were delicious but there are many wonderful ways to enhance this simple dessert by adding fruit or chocolate or using a savory filling, so there are plenty of options for experimentation.

Since custard needs to chill for at least 6 hours custard needs to be made in advance but if your refrigerator has a Quick Chill option you could select that function and speed up the process. I can’t give you a specific time frame because every refrigerator is different but it’s worth a try if you are in a hurry.

If you have wondered how to cook multiple foods at one time in your Steam oven, be sure to check out my next post in which I will outline how to prepare a complete meal in the Steam oven.

Larissa, Your Convection Enthusiast

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