Eggless custards, not anything new. There have been many variations of it from using different starches to more “modernist” ingredients. What I have noticed though is that not many have used lambda carrageenan, which arguably gives one of the best results in both mouthfeel and flavour release.
Info about Lambda: It is another variety of carrageenan. It is cold soluble in both dairy and non dairy applications. Like other carrageenans it displays strong synergies with dairy. It is non gelling. In food manufacturing, it is mostly used in yogurt, cheese and ice cream production. It’s main value is in its cold solubility. It also helps prevent whey separation in ice creams and other dairy products.
So in the photo above, there are 2 variations, but they both started with the same custard base of 450g vanilla and orange zest infused whipping cream, and 50g sugar.
The custard on the left was made with 1.5g (0.3%) lambda carrageenan and 0.5g (0.1%) iota carrageenan. The custard on the right side was made with 1.5g lambda, 1.5g iota.
As a result of the higher iota on the custard on the right side, it’s structure is more rigid, and resembles high fat yogurt. The custard on the left, with lower iota, resembles that of a loose yogurt.
Why use 2 kinds of carrageenan? The reason for using 2 different kinds is that each carrageenan has its own function. Lambda is there for the mouthfeel. Lambda is perhaps one of the best carrageenans for adding a rich, creamy mouthfeel because despite the texture being thick, it does not impart a pasty texture. It is rich, but clean. This is due to it’s very low melting temperature. It quickly melts away in your mouth. The iota is there to provide a little bit of structure and body.
If I only used lambda, then the appearance would me more like a creme anglais. If that is the goal then by all means, just use lambda.
If I only used iota:
Arguably, you can use just a very low amount of iota and still get a similar appearance to the custard on the left. However, the flavour release would be much weaker. Iota carrageenan gels in dairy, and as a result, will hold on to the flavour compounds. Lambda does not gel, so flavours are released much faster.
Another point to add if you only used iota is that mouthfeel will be different. Since it has a higher melting point, it will be a little pasty in texture, and the fattiness will also linger in the mouth a little longer. If this was in a composed dish, other flavours may be muted since your tongue is coated with the custard.
If you are curious to try lambda carrageenan, you can find it in our available ingredients section.
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