A hot-water bath, classically called a bain-marie, is a simple and effective way to protect delicate foods-puddings, custards, some cakes-from the hot, dry heat of the stovetop or oven. This ensures they will emerge moist, tender and, in the case of custards, uncracked. The pudding mold or other container holding the food is simply placed in a larger container, and boiling water is poured into the larger container to come halfway up the sides of the mold, creating an insulating layer of water to moderate the heat.
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