The Breukelen Life

The Breukelen Life

Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn

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Coagulation vs. curds

September 25, 2012


Sunday evening, I thought about eggs. All day yesterday, eggs again. There have been few things that have captivated my taste buds to the point of distraction.

I guess I should start from the beginning…

P and I had big plans for a Sunday brunch cooking extravaganza. Cinnamon rolls were on the docket but after a defeating search for a recipe that didn’t span 5 hours and 1,000 steps, I let that dream go for another day. Instead we zeroed in on our fav of Lemon Ricotta Hazelnut pancakes. Oh yes, bacon too please. And yes, why not current scones? I dare you to give me a good reason.

And then there were the eggs. I became enchanted Daniel Boulud’s recipe in the Essential New York Times Cookbook while on the hunt for a cinnabun recipe.

Here’s just a taste of Hesser’s experience…

“ …he stirred and stirred and looked bored…The eggs lost their shine and thickened like pastry cream….When the mixture began to look creamy, like polenta, he began adding chinks of cold Echire butter…”

Yes, it is possible for eggs to thicken like pastry cream. Who f’ing knew!

The entire page really just gave me a slap upside the head. The concept of doing something so different to something so basic took my breath away. Not only that, but the writing inspired me, giving me a quick remembrance of why the craft of both cooking and writing is so important. To see someone else’s experiences, their perspectives, and to understand them so clearly is… a gift.

I had to make them. P was on board, and a bit intrigued by the cooking process.

Simply put, these eggs could cure all the hatred in the world. P put it best when he said “This tastes like the eggs that kings would eat.”

Yes, yes indeed. This should be kept in the pocket for the truly cherished in your life, or for your Saturday morning alone, to be enjoyed with coffee and your best romance novel.

The original recipe is served with bacon (sliced thin like prosciutto). I’m just going to lay out the egg process for you because the bacon thing is a bit fussy.

We topped with the recommended toasted breadcrumbs and then spooned them onto toast spread with a truffle and olive tapenade. Yeah I know… that’s not fussy at all! Ha!

It calls for homemade breadcrumbs. We cheated and used store bought since I never have anything but multigrain bread in the house and that doesn’t make the best crumbs. So…do what you must. But you must make these eggs. Enjoy!

7 large eggs – room temperature
¼ cup cold heavy cream
2 tbsp of unsalted butter – preferably French
½ cup toasted breadcrumbs. (3 slices of day old bread, grind in food processor and toast in skillet with 2 tbsp of butter.)

1. Add water to the bottom of double broiler and bring to a steady light simmer. Crack the eggs into a fine sieve set over top of the double broiler and using a whisk, work the eggs thoroughly through the sieve. Season generously with salt (we used truffle!) and pepper.

2. Place the pan with the eggs over the bottom pan with about 1 inch clearance. Using a wooden spoon, stir the eggs constantly. If they begin to coagulate, lower the heat. It should take about five minutes. It took us a hot mimosa second to realize the difference between coagulation and curds but there is a different! The cuds will be clearly rounded while the coagulation is a bit stringy.

3. Keep stirring! When small curds appear, whisk the mixture until it is thick like pudding.

4. Remove the top pan and whisk in the butter, the eggs should smooth out. Whisk in the cream, 1 tbsp at a time (to stop the cooking) until the texture is like a creamy polenta.

5. If the eggs are runny, pu the pan briefly over the boiler and stir until they have thickened. Season to taste, pour into a bowl and sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

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