Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Baked (Shirred) Eggs - or - oeufs en cocotte

If you don’t like soft-cooked eggs, turn away now...  (I'm not offended - 50% of my children take your side!)

These oh-so-tender eggs simply must be soft when you serve them.  Anyone can make hard-cooked eggs by ignoring the amount of time they are exposed to heat.  The best part about shirred eggs (oeufs en cocotte in French) is the soft yolks swimming in rich cream.  Salt & pepper is the only garnish you need for the best eggs you’ve ever experienced.

You can bake eggs many ways, but most people bake them nestled in other foods such as rice, vegetables, or sauces.  When you bake them IN something, it should usually be heated before the eggs are added for faster and more even cooking.  Usually you make an indentation with the back of a spoon to prepare a “well” for the egg to stay put.

Not so with shirred eggs.  There is no need to preheat the cream either.  You can get creative with the containers you use as well.  Small casserole dishes, muffin tins, custard cups, and (my personal favorite) ramekins all do the trick.   When you use a ramekin, the eggs look fabulous left in the dish.  Or - if you prefer, you can transfer to a plate as well.
Shirred eggs need to be watched carefully, as overcooking makes them as common as any other egg you've had.  I’ve found that shaking the dish/container, or touching the yolk lightly with your finger is the best way to tell if they are done to your liking.

For directions on preparing these classic French eggs, go to:

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