CVap Goes Sweet, and Deep

By

Caroline Hatchett
Pastry Chef Rachel Sundet places her salted butterscotch custards in a CVap oven
Pastry Chef Rachel Sundet places her salted butterscotch custards in a CVap oven

A CVap oven is no small investment, and if you have one, you may as well work it hard (and smart). Pastry Chef Rachel Sundet splits custody of a CVap with the savory team at State Park in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and at this year’s International Chefs Congress, she demonstrated some of the techniques that keep their CVap humming from morning prep through service.  

Custard: Eggs set around 200˚F. Setting a precise temperature on the CVap prevents overcooking, and the steamy environment eliminates the need for a clunky baine marie. Sundet sets the CVap to 200˚F for steam heat and 0 for browning. Her custards come out smooth as slow jazz every time.

Steam Pudding: Sundet grew up eating her dad’s homey, South African steam puddings. When she needed to adapt the recipe to the restaurant setting, she turned to the CVap. Instead of awkwardly boiling a bowl or pan full of batter, she makes individual cakes in cupcake pans with the steam set to 200˚F and browning set to 6.

Cheesecake: Sundet treats her cheesecake like custards, with the same formula in the CVap (200˚F for steam heat and 0 for browning). And because they’re cooked in such a steamy environment, they don’t crack. Ever. The extra moisture during cooking allows the cheesecakes to retain their internal moisture—and structural integrity. To avoid a soggy crust, Sundet adds crunch after cooking with a crumble or granola topping.

Canning: Sundet and her chef husband, Tyler, use the CVap to streamline preserving summer fruits and vegetables. They’ve done away with boiling jars by setting the CVap to 200˚F and 5 to 6 for browning. They process quart jars for about 25 minutes to ensure a good, safe seal.

Sundet has more experimenting to do, but she has successfully proofed bread (even baked certain kinds of loaves); conducted low, slow dehydration; and made chocolate terrines and steam buns in her CVap. Before each new project, she determines the texture she wants and works backwards. “Think of the internal temperature you're trying to hit. That’s your steam heat. Browning is how much caramelization you're going for,” she said. And once you’ve figured out a CVap formula, “you hit it every time, consistently.”

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