Baked Eggs

baked eggs with gruyère and herbs

For Sunday morning breakfast I made baked eggs, a dish traditionally reserved in my family for one occasion and one occasion only: Christmas morning. Preparing the eggs down here in Virginia felt odd as I’ve never made them outside of my mother’s Connecticut kitchen, and eating them felt odd, too, because instantly it felt like Christmas morning, and I thus expected to see my sister sitting across from me harmonizing with the Messiah and my brother a few seats down strumming along on his guitar.

Alas, neither of these characters was present and having not inherited a single musical gene, Ben and I tucked into our herb-and-gruyère-topped baked eggs in silence, spooning the perfectly runny yolks over toasted bread, enjoying an unprecedented Christmas morning dress rehearsal.

Tradition aside, I have no good reason to make baked eggs only once a year. They couldn’t be simpler to assemble — great for a crowd in fact — and they are far from indulgent: topped with just two teaspoons of cream (or half and half or milk) and one tablespoon of grated cheese, each baked egg is about as decadent as a poached egg. And the combination of the herbs — parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme — with the gruyère and soft-cooked egg along with a few splashes of Tabasco, while certainly festive, is too good to save for one and only one morning a year. Besides, it’s not truly the holidays until all of the usual suspects — baked eggs or not — are present. Can’t wait to see you, Family.

baked eggs on toast

I didn’t have any sage, but if you are heading to the store, it’s definitely a nice addition:
parsley, rosemary, thyme — missing the sage

eggs in ramekins

eggs with cream

eggs with herbs

eggs with herbs and tabasco

topped with cheese

ready for water bath

just baked

Baked Eggs

Source: The New York Times Magazine, October 27th, 1985
(My mother truly has been making this since 1985!)
Serves 8 but adjust quantities as necessary (you can make just one if you wish)

Notes: Use the quantities of herbs as a guide — I never measure anymore. Also, getting the desired doneness of the eggs may take some practice. This morning for instance, two of the eggs were perfectly cooked — yolk runny but not too runny; whites nicely set — and two of the eggs were overcooked. I discovered afterwards that the overcooked eggs were in ramekins that were a little bit thinner than the ramekins holding the perfectly cooked eggs. So, the thickness of the ramekin makes a difference as does the temperature of the oven (every oven is different) as does the height of the water in the water bath as does the number of ramekins you have in your baking dish. I advise you start checking for doneness after 9 minutes. Just press the top gently with your finger. Keep in mind, too, that they continue to cook after you take them out of the oven.

3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, loosely packed
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme, loosely packed
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, loosely packed
1 teaspoon finely chopped sage, loosely packed
1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter (this is for greasing the ramekins, which I forgot to do, so maybe it’s optional?)
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
Tabasco
8 eggs
8 tablespoons grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese

1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bring a tea pot filled with water to a boil. Combine herbs in a small bowl. Butter eight 4-oz ramekins. (Or don’t. I forgot to with no ill effects.) Crack one egg into each ramekin.

2. Season eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 2 teaspoons cream, 1 teaspoon (about) herbs and a few dashes of Tabasco over each egg. Sprinkle with about one tablespoon of cheese.

3. Place ramekins in a baking dish large enough to ensure they do not touch each other. Pour boiling water into dish so that it reaches one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 9 to 14 minutes depending on variables noted above for medium cooked eggs.

baked eggs with gruyère and herbs

baked eggs on toast


16. December 2012 by Alexandra Stafford
Categories: Baking, Breakfast, Eggs | 22 comments


Comments (22)

  1. What a great tradition! I’ve never had any luck cooking the eggs just right – I always end up over-baking them. I am sure your recipe will remedy my problem!

    Also, I made your Passover chocolate cake on Friday night to rave reviews. I served it with some whipped cream with a dash of egg nog whipped in. The cake was delicious.

    • Darcy — getting the texture of the eggs just right is tricky. I made a note, but two of our eggs were overcooked and two were just right, and the ramekins were the culprits! There are so many variables to keep in mind with this recipe. So happy to hear that that Passover chocolate cake was good! I haven’t made it in ages, but saw on your profiteroles post that you made it years ago with success, too. Hooray! Love the idea of egg nog whipped cream.

  2. Definitely too good to have just once a year!

  3. I’ve always wanted to try baked eggs, as I do enjoy a fried egg with bread at least once a week for lunch (I have no cholesterol or weight issues… :-)

    baked eggs sound like a step up, and I would definitely not have them only for Christmas morning ;0)

    great post!

  4. I love the tradition–maybe Sunday nights would be a nice tradition, too!

  5. Yummm Alexandra! This is similar to one I make for my son that he calls Creme Parm Eggs which is an Atkins recipe.

    Yours sounds much more flavorful and I can’t wait to try it!!

  6. We do a massive Christmas brunch too by have ever had baked eggs as part of it. J loves to cook baked eggs but usually does it in a tomatoey sauce rather than cream, they’re delicious!

  7. I don’t really like eggs as eggs – they are fine in a casserole, frittata or baking – and have never eaten them with a runny yolk. My doctor says that yolks should be runny. I will make this recipe and see if I can manage. If so, it will become a stand by for a quick meal.

  8. Wonderful recipe!Nice tradition! :)

  9. They have baked eggs in 1985? I shouldn’t be surprised but wow! I heart baked eggs, sadly I think it’s is way too hot in Brisbane to be making this now, I made your pleasant bread yesterday and I almost died of heat standing in the near the oven with two hot pyrex bowls in front of me trying to get the bread out. (Bread was delicious, but they did not want to exit the bowl…)

    • Explody Full— yes, definitely sounds too hot…baked eggs are definitely a wintry dish in my book. Bummer about the bread sticking — you really have to be liberal with the butter spreading. Even when I think I’ve added a lot, sometimes it sticks. I’ve learned that when I have a nearly opaque layer of white, my bowl is ready :)

  10. these are tasty tasty tasty –

    I made the spinach with feta and pine nuts from two blue lemons – that went on top of toasted baguette slices, and these eggs were the topper.

    OMG delicious! Layers of flavor, a nice lemony glow that suggested almost eggs Benedict (but not the over-the-top richness) then also a couple cheeses (could have left feta out of the spinach) and the herbs . Oh so good …

    :-)

    • Peter, hello! First of all, thank you for sending me over to Two Blue Lemons — so much wonderful stuff, and that spinach and pine nut recipe looks divine. Love the idea of piling that on baguettes and topping it all off with a nice soft yolk. I think that will make a nice detox meal after the holidays…I’m heading up to CT tomorrow, however, and the end of our feasting feels like a long way away at this point. And, I love your eggs baked in tomato sauce with zucchini idea! Yum. Do you think adding some white beans into the mix would be too much? I know that would greatly lengthen the cooking time/process, but I’m sort of feeling a beany, tomatoey, eggy dish. Happy Holidays!

  11. oh and by the way – yes baked eggs in a tomato sauce are really tasty too — I sometimes make a tom sauce and then put slices of zucchini in a casserole dish, mix sauce in and bake – after the zucchini cooks down a bit, then I dig out shallow bowls in the zuch and crack an egg into each one. Spoon a little sauce over the eggs. When the eggs are done, then serve it all with a good italian bread.

    uh huh – yummy good on a cold winter day …

  12. Mmm, I can’t wait to try this! I had baked eggs when I was in Chicago recently, and fell in love. Been looking for a recipe to try. Thank you!

  13. White beans would be really nice, actually! The last couple times I made this, I have been thinking it needs something else – beans could just be “it” …

    Sweet – something else to try!

  14. I make these all the time, usually at least once a week because it’s so easy and satisfying. However, I usually put a mixture of ingredients on the bottom of the ramekin, then crack the egg on top and add the milk, salt and pepper, and minced garlic. Try slices of avocado + goat cheese.
    One of my favorite variations, though, is to cook up some bacon, turn off the heat, and toss chopped kimchi into a bit of the residual bacon fat. Pork fat renders kimchi incredibly savory and mild. Then crack the egg on top of that. Perhaps it sounds weird, but it’s delicious, and everyone I make it for raves.

    • SamanthaD — Love the idea of avocado and goat cheese as a complement to baked eggs. Yum! And I am intrigued by the kimchi and pork fat combo…sounds heavenly! Thanks so much for sharing your ideas.

  15. Hi Alexandra,
    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe. Till date I never ate a similar dish. Eggs are my favorite and I am always looking forward to weekends to have such awesome brunches with my husband. I have been making them since you shared the recipe, and every time I would go out and buy fresh herbs. But today I didn’t plan it and just used dried thyme. It is always delicious.

    • Sana, I am so happy to hear this! Thyme is my favorite herb to pair with eggs, and it’s good to know that dried thyme works well, too. You’ve got me craving baked eggs :)

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