Cooking glossary

Baking utensils

Bain marie

Literally Marie's bath, a bain marie is a water bath made by putting a pan or bowl of food over a pan of hot water which should be kept at just below boiling point.

A bain marie is used to keep delicate sauces and soups hot without further cooking, to melt chocolate or to cook delicate sauces eg hollandaise or egg dishes eg a whisked sponge which spoil if cooked over a direct heat source. A bain marie can also be used in the oven for cooking delicate dishes such as crème caramel - the item is placed in a shallow tray with water up to two-thirds of the cooking vessel.