My friend gifted me a set of Julia Child's cookbooks, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, several years back (she bought it during a book sale in Australia if I did not remember wrongly), but sadly I didn't have a chance to make anything from the cookbook... until today! Well, like I've always said, better late than never, right? (;
I was reading the cookbook a few nights back, tagging the pages with post-sticks of the recipes I want to try - and to be honest, there are simply too many! And I finally decided on a recipe to try today as I have all the ingredients on hand - Oeufs en Cocotte (Eggs Baked in Ramekins).
The basic recipe documented in the cookbook uses only cream, egg and butter, while offering several variations at the same time. I decided to add a little parsley and ham to spruce things up a little. These are great add-ons as I don't have to cook them separately and can just add them directly into the cream. If using mushrooms or bacon, they will need to be sautéed first before they can be added into the cream. I made only one serving but it can be doubled or tripled so easily - the only limit is probably the number of ramekins you have.
Cream is added twice - at the start and at the end. The cream at the start formed the base, like a sauce; while the cream (together with the butter) at the end helps prevent the egg from drying out. The egg is also baked in a water bath - which is deemed essential as the water bath acts as a barrier, and helps the egg to cook gently. Without the water bath, the heat of the oven will toughen the outside layer of the egg before the inside is cooked, giving a rubbery and perhaps, unpleasant texture.
There was a little fear, when I dipped the spoon into the yolk, but I swooned the moment I saw the yolk oozed. I dug further into the ramekin and I found some egg yolk to be a bit more set yet still soft, which is a lovely surprise because that's exactly how I love my egg yolks to be - some ooze and some set (am I even making sense now?)
The cream and the egg combined into such a creamy and tasty concoction, making the dipping of the toasted bread into the creamy egg such a bliss and joy. I just can't wait to try out the other recipes in the book!
|1) Add a little cream to a ramekin.||2) Dice some ham or cooked bacon and add to the cream.|
|3) A little herbs goes a long way - I used parsley but you can use anything you like. If using dried herbs, a tiny pinch will do.||4) Crack an egg - if your ramekin is big / egg is small, crack in another egg if you'd like.|
|5) Add in a little bit more cream, just to make things creamier.||6) Dot with a little butter for fun.|
|7) Place it in another dish for the water bath.||8) Pour in hot water and proceed to bake the egg!|
Oeuf en Cocotte (Egg Baked in Ramekin)
- Preheat oven to 190 degrees Celsius (375 degrees Fahrenheit). Boil a kettle of hot water.
- Place 1 tablespoon of cream in a ramekin. Add in the ham and fresh herbs. Crack in the egg, add in the remaining ½ tablespoon of cream and dot the butter on top.
- Place the ramekin in a deep oven-proof dish. Pour the hot water into the oven-proof dish until the water comes up halfway of the ramekin. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes if your egg is at room temperature, 10 to 12 minutes if your egg is cold (from the refrigerator), until the egg is set but still wobble slightly.
- While the egg is baking, toast your bread.
- Remove the oven-proof dish from the oven and set on a wire rack. Season the egg with salt and black pepper. Let cool for about 3 to 5 minutes so that it is easier to remove the ramekin. Remove the ramekin from the oven-proof dish and serve your egg immediately with the toasted bread.
- Adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking (Volume 1)