What to do with these gorgeous Tunitas Creek Organic eggs? How to preserve the color and shape without just handing my guests (at our very exclusive private event) hard cooked eggs to shell for themselves? Quiche Lorraine in egg shell cups!
Once you have mastered the art of gently cracking the shell top with one of the devices pictured below without shattering the entire shell, then you can move on to the easy part which is the custard filling. A word of advice on using this instrument: crack gently then use the butt of a pairing knife to crack/puncture the top of the shell and peel down to the crack line. Then discard the white & yellow into a container to reserve for the custard.
Your egg shells should look like the photo below when you are done. You will break a lot when you are just beginning – don’t beat yourself up about it – just keep your eyes on the prize. Everyone comes up with their own technique for perfection. Place the egg shells back in the carton when they are cleaned. They will cook in the cartons so don’t jette them!
Before making the custard it’s a good idea to sauté your shallot and bacon. You should see the size of the shallots growing here at Potrero Nuevo Farm. Holy Moly, I don’t know what they put in the soil (yes, it is an organic farm) but I have never in my life – not even in France – seen or tasted shallots quite like these. First off, they’re about as big as my whole entire hand. Secondly, they’re juicy when you cut into them. I don’t know if I’m crying tears of joy half the time or tears of onion fume inhalation. Either way, they are magnificent.
The bacon is also special. Suzie & Jay, co-farm manager’s, just processed the Berkshire pigs they’ve been raising for our events and for customers that bought shares, and we have some pretty serious bacon – O.M.G. do we have bacon! It’s not even funny how delicious it is. I can’t even cook it for events without eating half. It’s amazing there was even enough bacon for this recipe after I demolished most of it.
Fill your nicely cleaned eggs shells (remove that little lining inside if possible and give them a rinse in cold water) with bacon and shallot and Gruyère cheese. I know Gruyère is expensive but you only need a little bit and quiche Lorraine is not quiche Lorraine without it.
After the garnishes have been gently administered. The custard can be poured in over top. This part is really easy. Which is a good thing because – I’m not going to lie to you here– making the actual egg cups is a total nightmare (there’s another word for “nightmare” but I think my students are on to my blog so….)
Gently place the cartons into a large baking pan and fill it with boiling hot water just below the edge of the carton so the water comes up about 1/3rd the side of the egg shell. Cover tightly with tin foil and bake at 350˚F for about 15-20 minutes. When they are just set and have stopped jiggling all over, then they are done.
Garnish with caviar, micro greens, herbs – you name it – make ’em look pretty.
Here’s another picture of this very same appetizer made with pancetta instead of bacon and topped with caviar:
- 1 dozen extra large organic farm eggs
- 1/2 cup micro-planed (finely shredded) Gruyère cheese
- 6 ounces bacon, cooked until chewy-crisp & finely chopped
- 2 cups cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper & nutmeg
- (top with: caviar? Micro greens? Herbs? Parmesan crisp?)
Using an egg topper, gently place it over the pointy end of the egg and pull up on handle and let it snap down around cap. Tap the cap gently with the back of a knife to crack and, using the tip of the knife, poke a hole in the top and gently peel away the shell down the crack line.
Once most of the top is removed pour off whole egg and reserve for filling. Carefully remove the film inside of the egg and give it a rinse under cold water. Put egg back in egg shell carton – this will serve to hold the eggs upright while baking in the bain marie (water bath).
After all the eggs are cleaned and arranged back in carton add a few pinches of finely grated Gruyère cheese and divide the bacon.
Scald the milk and cream in a small pot over medium high heat. In a separate mixing bowl add 6 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks, whisk together. Once the milk mixture is hot (but not boiling) pour over egg mixture little by little allowing the hot milk to temper the eggs first and then adding the remaining milk in a constant stream. Strain mixture if necessary.
Add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and nutmeg to taste – keep in mind that the cheese and bacon are salty but the egg mixture should still have flavor.
Place egg cartons in a 4-inch deep rectangular baking dish and place carefull on oven rack. Fill baking dish with boiling hot water (bain marie) 2/3's way up the side of eggshells. Cover tightly with tin foil.
Bake for 12 minutes and then check the eggs. They are done when the centers jiggle ever so slightly. When just set, remove egg cartons from hot water and cool. Cover with saran wrap and refrigerate. Can be made one day ahead.