Now that we are deep into the month of May and Easter is firmly behind us, you might think that the time of cream eggs is over. This is only partially true. The time of creme eggs has (sadly) past us by, but the time for cream-fried eggs is just beginning. At least for me.
Eggs that are fried in cream first snagged my notice about a year ago, when Food52 wrote about them, but the idea (as far as I can tell) originated from Ideas in Food, which is a pretty good blog with — as the name suggests — pretty good ideas about food. One of their good ideas is — obviously — frying eggs in heavy cream, and it’s an idea that I wish I had tried sooner.
It’s less of a recipe and more of a method: You pour some cream in a pan, you crack the eggs in the cream, and then you season it all with salt. Cook the eggs over medium heat until the water boils off from the cream and the proteins and sugars start to caramelize and brown, leaving you with very tender, very rich-tasting fried eggs.
The cream will foam for quite a while, especially if you have a lot of it in the pan, but do not be alarmed. That’s the water boiling off, and it’s necessary. The first time I made these, I filled the pan to the edges with cream before adding the eggs. It was too much, and by the time the cream caramelised, the yolks were a little overcooked. I recommend starting with 3–4 tablespoons of cream for two eggs, and increasing if things start to look too dry too fast. Both Food52 and Ideas in Food recommend taking the eggs off the heat and covering to finish cooking, but I found that my whites were fully set by the time the cream started to caramelize.
As you can see, there’s a nice gradation of yolk “doneness” with this method — the top is super soft, almost runny, while the base is hard cooked, but not so much so that it tastes sulphury. But the real hero of the piece is the whites. They are incredibly tender, a little crispy on the edges, and have really taken on the rich, sweet character of the caramelised cream.
I have but one bone to pick with this method: As the cream caramelizes, it fuses to the pan — even nonstick! — in a way that is quite annoying to clean off. It doesn’t mess up the finish or anything, it just takes a good bit of scrubbing to remove, and I’ve never had to scrub a teflon-coated pan before. But the eggs come out of the pan quite easily, and that medium amount of scrubbing is a small price to pay for eggs as indulgent as these.