Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Guardian Service Water Bath Cooking: Eggs Baked in Ramekins

The Guardian Service Roaster platter and lid doubling as a stove-top water bath.
In her PBS series, "The French Chef," Julia Child devoted an entire episode to "Elegance with Eggs," bringing the egg beyond breakfast. She starts with simple baked eggs in ramekins in a bain marie or oven water bath.

We've adapted her method for the Guardian Service Ware oval roaster platter and cover, creating a stove-top water bath that yields eggs which are tender and infused with flavor.

As Child points out in the accompanying Mastering the Art of French Cooking, "eggs offer a variety of presentations and you can draw on practically your whole cooking experience for its saucing and garnishing." In other words: check the refrigerator for leftovers! For eggs baked in ramekins, Child recommends "minced mushrooms, asparagus, spinach, artichoke hearts, diced lobster, shrimp, crab, truffles and/or a slice of foie gras."

As it happens, a foodie Santa brought us not only a free-range goose to cook Guardian Service style for the holidays, but a bit of foie gras. I placed a slice of day-old polenta and a thin slice of foie gras in each ramekin, then topped with eggs and cream.

Eggs Baked in Ramekins
Les Oeufs en Cocotte
(Adapted for Guardian Service Ware from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking)

Individual servings of 1 or 2 eggs baked in porcelain, pyrex or earthenware ramekins. (Any variety of small baking dish will work, here we've used two FireKing lusterware handled ramekins).

For each serving:

1/2 Tbsp butter
1 ramekin 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter and about 1 1/2 inches high
2 Tbsp heavy cream
1 or 2 eggs

Herbs, sauces, cheese, leftovers.
Some day-old polenta and a little foie gras dress up simple baked eggs.

  1. Butter the ramekins, saving a dot for later. Add 1 tablespoon of cream and set the ramekin in the simmering water over moderate heat. When the cream is hot, break into it one or two eggs. Pour the remaining spoonful of cream over the egg and top with a dot of butter.
  2. Cover with roaster lid and bake in simmering water bath for 7-10 minutes, less if cooking one egg per cup. The eggs are done when they are just set but still tremble slightly in the ramekins. They will set a little more when the ramekins are removed, so they should not be overcooked.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
  4. The ramekins may remain in the pan of hot water, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes before serving. To prevent overcooking, remove from heat when slightly underdone.

NOTE: Alkaline substances can cause aluminum to darken, so boiling water may cause the aluminum to stain, depending on your water's pH. While the staining is harmless, you can prevent it by adding a tablespoon of vinegar or a few drops of lemon juice to the water bath.