Thursday, June 22, 2017

Eggs in a Cloud

In the 1950s, meringue pies were all the dessert rage. My late mother prepared lemon meringue pies as the featured dessert at every family backyard summer BBQ.

Meringue is back in style, not that it ever left.

A current food fad is a modern spin on a centuries old recipe, 400 years to be exact. That's when a food dish called Oeufs à la Neige (eggs in snow) was described in Le Cuisinier François, a pioneering 1651 cookbook when France was beginning a revolution in cookery that would make it the culinary leader of the world for centuries.

Today, this dish has been renamed eggs in a cloud, eggs in a nest, or cloud eggs, depending on your source.

Modern "eggs in a cloud" look sophisticated, but are not hard to make. Separate the egg white and egg yolks. Whip the egg whites, and arrange into "cloud" shapes on a silicone or parchment-lined baking sheet leaving a hollow in the middle for the yolk to be added. Bake a few minutes, slip the yolks onto each nest, bake for a few more minutes. That's it.

The 17th century version was cooked a bit differently. There were no hand-mixers or whisks, chefs used bundles of finely split sticks. The egg foam and yolk were placed on a buttered dish and baked atop coals instead of in an oven. Everything was heated from above with a cooking tool called a salamander, basically, a hot fire shovel held over the dish. It was served with a sprinkle of sugar. 
This dish is fully customizable. You can add a variety of spices, such as oregano, basil, cilantro. You can also top the finished eggs with salsa or other toppings.

Eggs in a Cloud
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 C grated pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1/4 C chopped chives
  • 1/4 C crumbled ham or bacon
  • Pepper & salt to taste

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Separate eggs. Put whites in a single bowl and season with salt and pepper. Put each yolks in a separate small prep bowl.
  3. Whip the whites with a mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in cheese, ham or bacon, and chives (if using any) after peaks have formed. 
  4. Spoon 4 mounds of egg whites on parchment-lined baking sheet. Make a well in the center of each. Bake until slightly golden, about 3-4 minutes.
  5. Carefully add an egg yolk to the center of each white nest and bake again until the yolks are just set, about 3 minutes.
Watching your calories (as we are)? Here's great news — a single egg is only 70 to 80 calories, and you're not adding any oil, butter, or bread. You can eat two eggs at 160 calories for a filling breakfast. Adding 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese to our four-egg recipe added 27 calories per "nest." But. the chives and herbs were minimal calories.
These are breakfast dishes that Grenville prepared adding cheese and chives and serving on a bed of field greens. he really enjoys making this recipe and enjoys being creative each time. Personally, I enjoy eating his "creations" as they are delicious!


    mamasmercantile said...

    Send him my way, they look delicious.

    Emma Springfield said...

    Oh my goodness. I have not even thought of eggs in a cloud for years. I like the variations you show. I could even envision a creamed spinach topping. This would be a good brunch offering.

    Anonymous said...

    It's great to be creative in the kitchen. I love it too.

    L. D. said...

    They make a great presentation. I am trying to decide what the taste would be with non sweetened meringue. I bet they taste good or you wouldn't be making them.

    William Kendall said...

    Those look good!

    Doris said...

    Very interesting info about this good looking breakfast. Good job, Pat!

    Michelle said...

    Something I haven't tried....yet! Looks good!

    Kay G. said...

    These do look very good but better if someone does them for me!

    baili said...

    What a name .since now whenever I will look at clouds they will look like this pretty and cute shape :)

    Denise inVA said...

    I have seen these and thoroughly enjoyed reading the historical aspect. We will have to give these a try. Thanks for the recipe :)

    Mildred said...

    Looks delicious! Have a good week.

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