Bain Maries and Double Boilers

A bain marie is a two-tiered pan which has a top pan used to put the item being cooked resting over a bottom pan that has water. It is commonly referred to as a double boiler. When the pan is placed over a heat source, the water begins to boil/simmer/warm and cooks gently the item in the top pan.

It is generally used to melt chocolate and confectionery coatings, and to cook egg-based sauces gently such as Hollandaise or Bearnaise or a Creme Anglaise (sweet vanilla sauce).