The French call this cooking technique bain marie. It consists of placing a container (pan, bowl, souffle dish, etc.) of food in a large, shallow pan of warm water, which surrounds the food with gentle heat. The food may be cooked in this manner either in an oven or on top of a range. This technique is designed to cook delicate dishes such as custards, sauces and savory mousses without breaking or curdling them. it can also be used to keep cooked foods warm.