Eggs in any style and of any sort – as simple as genius – was the theme of this month’s IMBB, picked after assiduous considerations by Viv of Seattle Bon Vivant. Which, in all honesty, left me a bit clueless. I love eggs, I use them all the time. But I never thought of them as a leading act – obviously a big mistake… After giving it a good deal of thought, two egg-specialties crossed my mind. As one of them is savory, one is sweet and none of them time consuming in the slightest, I decided to just do both.
Rise and shine – Eggs – part one, a little something for breakfast (savory):
Actually, I’m almost ashamed to call it a recipe or dish, because it’s in principle just a boiled egg. BUT, sometimes it’s about the little things, which really could make all the difference.
We call it “eggs in a glass” (I don’t know, if this is the proper translation, the German term is simply a description of how the soft-cooked egg is being served – well, in a drinking glass) and Oliver is definitely hooked on them. The long and the short of it would be: Cook an egg to your desired state, peel it, put it in a glass, salt it, smash it and eat it. Done!
But hey, aren’t we on a culinary mission or what? To ensure we only use highest quality eggs, we have developed a routine, that has become a standard procedure and inseparable with the indulgence of eggs, which is: Visit the farmers market stand of your preference and purchase freshest eggs possible. The labels “free-range” and “organically fed” should indicate fair and healthy living conditions for the hens. I personally prefer buying eggs from the little stands, which offer a wide variety (usually in smaller amounts) of different farm products from their very own little grange. At Vikualienmarkt we have such a small stand, that sells fresh butter, bacon and some local specialties and of course: yummy tasting eggs. What comes with it, is an occasional anecdote about farm life every so often we shop there. Last time the owner told as about the fact, that brown hens are much more clever then their white buddies. Pardon me? How did he come to this conclusion? He told us, that from his own observation the brown hens always manage to break out or hop over the fence, wile their not-so-clever pale friends marvel at them, making lots of noise, but just don’t get it!
After poking a hole in the egg’s wide end (should prevent the egg from breaking) carefully put it into a pot of simmering hot water using a spoon. Leave it there for… hm… this is the tricky part. I like my egg whites solid, but the yolks should be liquid to semi-liquid. The best way to find out the right duration for you is simply trial and error. Since we buy our eggs at the same stand in the same size, we finally figured it out: 8 minutes cooking time for “my” perfect results, 8 and a half minutes for Oliver’s perfect eggs. Well, that’s all assuming that the eggs are not stored in the fridge, which otherwise would change the required time again… lots of room for ‘error’ ;)) Now remove from the pot and hold them briefly under running cold water as it will stop the cooking process (besides, it’ll also support the next step). Try peeling the egg without burning your fingers or dropping the egg – an almost impossible mission. By the way, the fresher the egg the less easy it is to peel. Place the egg in a drinking glass and – here comes some family tradition into play – add some salt, cress, paprika (the spice) and mash the egg(s). The paprika delivers an entirely different experience for one’s taste buds – believe it or not, everyone I introduced this to fell for it. Even Oliver, usually rather skeptical about my eating habits, loves it!
Eggs – part two, something sweet for dessert:
Tiramisu was the first dessert I ever made myself, and it is still one of my absolute favorite ones. The self-made version, of course! I’m always quite disappointed, when I choose Tiramisu at a restaurant – either it has a much too strong alcoholic taste or the lady/sponge fingers are too dry…
There are a lot of people, who worry about the use of uncooked eggs. I have made this dessert at least 50 times in the past, always used fresh uncooked eggs and have never ever had the slightest problems with it at all. The only question that usually comes to mind is “Do I keep a little rest for tomorrow, or not?” – typically I decide for the latter. :)
Put the egg yolks, the sugar and the hot water in a bowl and beat well for at least 5 minutes. A KitchenAid (or any other kitchen machine) can do a great job here… The mixture should change its color from yellow to very light yellow, almost white and its texture should be both creamy, yet quite stiff (hope this makes sense?). Add the mascarpone and beat again until the mixture has a consistent look.
Fill a form or glass with some of the mixture, just enough to cover the bottom. Pour the cold coffee in a flat bowl and soak the ladyfingers for some seconds, then arrange them on the mascarpone-egg mixture. I love my tiramisu quite juicy, so I soak the ladyfingers for a little longer, but that’s just a personal preference. Add another layer of the mixture, again soaked ladyfingers, …end with a layer of the mascarpone-egg mixture and dust with lots of unsweetened cocoa powder. Chill for at least four hours. And don’t keep (chilled) leftovers for longer than 24 hours, just a precaution because of the uncooked eggs. But there have NEVER EVER been leftovers!
This tiramisu recipe is a very basic version, without alcohol (what the original recipes calls for) and admittedly – quite rich. I tried different others, but always came back to this one. A caffeine-free one I tried for kids also worked out fine, just substitute the coffee with self-made (unsweetened) chocolate milk – they loved it ;)
Recipe source: Own creation
Required time: prep. 20 min., chilling ~4h
Ingredients (serves 4):
5 egg yolks
130 g sugar
1 tbsp hot water
500 g mascarpone cheese
15-20 lady/sponge fingers
300ml cold coffee/espresso
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder