My new favorite way to cook eggs: Shirred Eggs


Shirred Eggs fresh from the oven.

I have discovered my new favorite way to cook eggs; shirred eggs or as the French call them, oeufs en cocotte. Not only are these insanely delicious, they are extremely easy to prepare. With the holiday’s quickly approaching and often times needing to prepare a breakfast for many people, this is also a great way to make a lot of eggs all at once.

Your guests will ooh and aah over what appears to be a very complicated breakfast. Once they bite into these creamy, cheesy, delectable eggs they will be even more impressed. Enjoy it! Only you will know truly how easy these are to create.


Shirred eggs prior to baking.

Here is my recipe for shirred eggs or oeufs en cocotte. (Makes one serving)

Ingredients

2 eggs
2 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons shredded Gruyere cheese
a few sprigs of thyme
Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a four inch ramekin. You can use a smaller size but you may have to adjust your cooking time.

Crack the eggs into the ramekin. Pour two tablespoons of cream onto the eggs. Season with a bit of kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Sprinkle the cheese and thyme leaves onto the eggs.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the egg is ‘set’ to your preference. Serve immediately. The eggs will continue to set up once after they have been removed from the oven so get them to the table as soon as possible.

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Crème Brûlée – So simple, so rich, and always praised!

This is the second recipe from the prom dinner I made for my son Gregory and his friends.

The English, Spanish, and French all take credit for the creation of this wonderful dessert. Thankfully for us the French translation of the English name for this dessert is the one that became common place. Burnt cream just doesn’t have the same appeal. The Spanish name for this is crema catalana.

Ingredients

8 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated white sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¼ cup granulated white sugar (for the caramelized tops)

Directions

Preheat oven to 300ºF. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Add cream and vanilla, and continue to whisk until well blended.
Divide mixture among 4 to 6 4.5 inch, flat ramekins. Place ramekins in a large pan and then create a water bath by filling the pan with hot water until the water comes up to just below the top of the ramekin. Bake until set around the edges, but still loose in the center, about 50 to 60 minutes. Remove from oven and leave in the water bath until cooled. Remove cups from water bath and chill for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar over each custard. For best results, use a small, hand-held torch to melt sugar. If you don’t have a torch, place under the broiler until sugar melts. Re-chill custards for a few minutes before serving.

Here are a few other tips to help make the best crème brûlée:

Eggs – This is one recipe where the volume of eggs makes some difference. Use large grade A. Make sure they are well chilled before separating. Chilled eggs are easier to separate as the yolks will be firmer.

Cream – Use only heavy whipping cream.

Vanilla extract – Use real vanilla extract and not imitation. If you can, use a Madagascar Bourbon extract. It should be available in most specialty gourmet shops.

Spaghetti alla Carbonara

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Spaghetti alla Carbonara is another dish who’s origin is quite muddled. One story has the dish originating with Italian coal miners. There may be some truth as the Italian word carbonara means coal burner. Another story says the dish originated during World War II when the Italian people were given bacon and eggs from the US soldiers. This story holds merit as the recipe doesn’t appear in Italian cookbooks until after WWII.

Regardless of origin, this dish is one you will want to make again and again.

Ingredients

4 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz. thinly sliced guanciale or pancetta cut into ½” pieces
2 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
1 ¾ cups finely grated Parmesan
1 egg plus 3 yolks
Kosher salt, to taste
1 lb. spaghetti

Instructions

Heat oil in a 10″ skillet over medium heat. Add guanciale or pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 6–8 minutes. Add pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, 2 minutes more. Blend together the egg and yolks with 1 and ½ cup of Parmesan; set aside. Transfer guanciale/pancetta  mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly, you do not want the oil to begin cooking the eggs; add the Parmesan and egg and yolks mixture and stir to combine; set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a 6-qt. pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente, 8–10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup water; drain pasta and transfer it to guanciale mixture. Toss, adding pasta water a little at a time to make a creamy sauce. (You may not need the whole cup of water.) Season with salt and pepper; serve with remaining Parmesan.