Egg Cookery

Moist-Heat Cooking Techniques

Custard

Crème Brûlé

Crème Brûlé

When eggs are combined with milk or cream and cooked, they create silky smooth custards.  They can be set custards like a savory quiche,  or sweetened classic desserts like crème brûlé, flan, and crème caramel.  Custard sauces, like crème anglaise, are cooked on the stove top, while set custards are baked.

It is important to cook custards at low temperatures. Custards reach their serving consistency well below the boiling point at 176-183◦F/80-84◦C.  High heat or overcooking will cause the moisture in the custard to separate from the proteins and curdle. Overcooking will turn baked custards into a rubbery consistency. Stove top custards when overheated will appear grainy and thin out.

Flan

Flan

Start a custard by heating the milk or cream to 130-170◦F/55-77◦C in a saucepan on the stove. If a sweet custard is desired, add sugar or other flavorings such as vanilla. For a savory custard, such as a quiche, add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The eggs must be tempered with a small amount of the hot milk or cream so they don't curdle. Do this by placing the eggs in a bowl and whisking in some of the warm milk or cream to gradually raise the temperature of the eggs. Whole eggs are used in a quiche or crème caramel, while egg yolks are used in a crème anglaise sauce and crème brûlé. The tempered eggs are added to the hot milk mixture. The two mixtures are then combined in the saucepan. For a crème anglaise sauce, the mixture is cooked while it is whisked on the stovetop 170◦F/77◦C. For a baked custard, like a quiche, crème brûlé, flan, or crème caramel, the mixture is poured into a ramekin or pastry crust and baked in an oven until set.

  • Heat the mixture slowly at a low temperature
  • Warm the milk or cream before combining with eggs to speed the coagulation process
  • When cooking on a stove top use a heavy gauge pan and stir constantly to avoid curdling
  • Check the temperature with an instant read thermometer
  • Remove from heat immediately to avoid over-cooking

Eggs Cooked in the Shell

A boiled egg is a common term used for cooking eggs in the shell. Most cooks still boil eggs even though the higher temperatures produces a tougher egg and can lead to green yolks. Lower heat results in eggs that are soft, moist, and tender, with a brighter yolk color. Remove from the heat and cool immediately under cold water or in an ice water bath to avoid overcooking and green tinged yolks. Eggs in the shell can be cooked immersed in water or steamed.

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Something as simple as eggs cooked in the shell can be complicated by many cooking variables:

  • The age of the egg
  • The size of the egg
  • Degree of doneness
  • The length of cooking time
  • The temperature of the cooking medium
  • Whether the egg is cold or at room temperature when it is cooked
  • How rapidly the water is brought up to temperature
  • How many eggs are in the pot
  • Whether the eggs are cooked in water or in a steamer

Standard Moist Heat Technique

Step 1

  • Bring a pot of water to a simmer
  • Carefully lower the eggs into the water

Step 2

  • Start the timer once the water has returned to a simmer
  • Gently cook for desired time

Step 3

  • Cool in an ice bath, or serve immediately
  • Hard cooked eggs can be started in cold water
Eggs Cooked in the Shell

Eggs Cooked in the Shell

Mollet Eggs

A mollet egg is a soft-cooked egg in the shell. The water is brought to a simmer in a pot, after the eggs are added, the pot is covered and the heat is shut off.

Step 1

  • Place eggs in a pot and cover with water
  • Bring to a simmer
Sous Vide Egg

Sous Vide Egg

Step 2

  • Shut off heat and cover the pot
  • Set a timer for 6 minutes

Step 3

  • Remove from water and serve immediately

Sous Vide Eggs

  • Place eggs in the shell into an immersion circulator or hot water bath set at 150˚F/65˚C for 35 minutes
  • The eggs can be cooled in an ice bath and reheated in the circulator as needed

Classic Coddled Eggs

Step 1

  • Place eggs in a ramekin or porcelain dish
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add a garnish if desired
  • Cover the top

Step 2

  • Place in a simmering water bath
  • Cook for 8 minutes

Step 3

  • Serve immediately

Poached Eggs

Step 1

  • Heat water temperature 180˚F/82˚C
  • Add 1 oz./30 ml white vinegar per gallon of water
  • Add ½-1 oz./14-28 g salt per gallon

Step 2

  • Set a fine mesh strainer over a bowl
  • Crack the egg into the strainer and drain the loose egg white
  • Stir the water in the pot to create a vortex
  • Gently slide eggs into water  

Step 3

  • Use a slotted spoon to shape the egg
  • Allow it to gently cook until the outer white is set but the egg yolk is still soft

Step 4

  • Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to remove eggs
  • Dry on a towel before serving
  • Alternately place in an ice bath to cool, then drain and hold. Reheat in a hot water bath for service

Onsen tamago  is a Japanese low temperature egg which was traditionally slow cooked in the water of onsen hot springs in Japan.The egg is cooked in the shell at 150˚F/66˚C for 30 minutes creating a delicate custard-like white and a creamy-textured yolk.

Dry-Heat Cooking Methods

Baked Eggs – Shirred Eggs –Oeufs sur le Plat

Step 1

  • Carefully crack eggs into buttered ramekin, soufflé or gratin dish
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add a little cream or milk to keep moist
  • Top with desired garnish

Step 2

  • Bake at 325˚F for 12-14 minutes
  • Serve immediately

Fried Eggs

Optimal pan temperature is 250-300˚F/120-150˚C

Step 1

Crack the eggs into a separate dish

Step 2

  • Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick sauté pan over moderate heat
  • Use whole butter for flavor and to prevent sticking

Step 3

  • Add the eggs to the pan
  • Flip or turn the eggs for over easy, medium, or hard
  • Alternately baste the egg with fat
  • Alternately add a few drops of water and cover the pan to steam them for a few minutes to cook the surface
  • Serve immediately

Scrambled Eggs

Step 1

  • Whip eggs in a bowl to thoroughly blend the yolk and the white
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add 1 tsp. of milk, cream or water per egg if desired

Step 2

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  • Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick pan over moderate heat
  • Add butter or oil
  • Add the eggs and move the eggs with a heat resistant spatula to evenly cook the eggs without browning
  • Remove the eggs from the heat when they are slightly under the desired degree of doneness to allow for carryover cooking

Tips

  • Cook scrambled eggs should be light, fluffy, and slightly moist
  • Signs of overcooking include browning, hard-crumbly texture, and weeping


Classic French Omelet

Step 1

  • Break eggs into a bowl and whip to thoroughly blend the yolks and the whites
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Add fresh herbs if desired

Step 2

  • Heat a well-seasoned or nonstick sauté pan
  • Add whole butter or oil
  • Pour eggs into the pan

Step 3

  • Move the sauté pan with one hand and stir and scrape the eggs with the opposite hand using a fork or heat resistant spatula. For a country style omelet allow larger curds to form and brown the skin slightly. For a classic French omelet stir the eggs continuously and do not allow to brown

Step 4

  • Add fillings if desired
  • Tilt the sauté pan away from you and slide the omelet down
  • Fold the near side of the omelet over by one third
  • Fold the far side of the omelet over in a letter fold
  • Press and shape the omelet
  • Flip onto a plate and serve

Frittata/Tortilla/Flat Omelet

On open face omelet that is cooked in a sauté pan, cast iron skillet, or in hotel pan a frittata can be prepared individually or in a large pan and portioned

Step 1

  • Precook vegetables and meats to remove excess moisture
  • Break eggs into a bowl and whip to thoroughly blend the yolks and the whites
  • Season with salt and pepper; add fresh herbs if desired

Step 2

  • Add the eggs to the sauté pan and cook the mixture without stirring
  • As it begins to set add vegetables, meats, or cheeses
  • Place in an oven until set or finish under a broiler to brown it slightly
  • Frittata can be prepped in a hotel pan and baked in an oven at 300˚F/150˚C until set

Quiche

Step 1

  • Prepare a pastry crust, roll out and blind bake the shell

Step 2

  • Combine the eggs with the milk and cream. Season the mixture with salt, pepper and nutmeg

Step 3

  • Dice and cook vegetables and meats
  • Add half the garnish to the pastry shell
  • Layer the shredded cheese over the garnish

Step 4

  • Pour the custard into the shell
  • Add the remaining garnish to the pan
  • Bake at 325◦F/160◦C for 1 ½ hours until set

Savory Soufflés

Cheese Soufflé

Step 1 

  • Prepare a base of béchamel sauce
  • Prepare the soufflé dish by buttering it and dusting with with grated parmesan cheese or bread crumbs

Step 2

  • Add the egg yolks and cheese to the warm béchamel sauce
  • Add other garnishes if desired, precook vegetables or meats before adding
  • Remember to flavor and over season the soufflé base because the egg whites will thin out the mixture and dilute the taste

Step 3

  • Whip the eggs white to soft peaks
  • Fold in the eggs whites one-third at a time
  • Add the first amount of egg whites to lighten up the base
  • Add the remaining egg whites in two more additions

Tips

  • Always use a rubber spatula when folding in the eggs whites
  • Fold from the bottom of the bowl lifting the mixture up and over the egg whites
  • Avoid over mixing and deflating the egg whites

Step 4

  • Bake in a hot oven 400-425° F/200-218° C
  • Smaller soufflés will take 20-30 minutes to bake
  • Larger soufflés will take 45 minutes to 1 hour to bake
  • French soufflés are baked for less time and have a softer texture
  • American s soufflés are cooked longer until fully set


Soufflé Omelet

Step 1

  • Separate the eggs and whip the yolks
  • Add seasoning and garnishes such as cheese, herbs, diced ham, sautéed onions, or other cooked vegetable to the yolks

Step 2

  • Whip whites to soft peaks
  • Fold the whites into the yolks to achieve a homogeneous mixture; avoid over mixing which will cause the whites to collapse

Step 3

  • Heat a sauté pan and add butter or oil
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and allow to cook until the bottom and edges are set
  • Place in a medium hot oven and cook until the mixture sets and is lightly brown
  • Slide onto a plate and serve immediately