Absolutely Sinful Baked Eggs

Today while I was reading April's edition of Sunset magazine, I came across a simple recipe for "Shirred Eggs."    The photo caught my eye, because the eggs were browned nicely on top, nestled in their small ramekins, and were sprinkled with a bit of green.  My mom and sister would soon be over wanting something to eat before my sister's long flight back to the East Coast today, so this recipe was perfect.  I'd made baked, or shirred eggs many times, but most often for special occasions such as during holidays, or for a brunch with family.  Mmmmmm……I love eggs prepared like this.  In fact, the recipe was similar to another favorite in Ina Garten's Barefoot in Paris, "Herbed-Baked Eggs."

So what is this business of shirring all about?  Well, Epicurious spells it out just like the recipes I've looked at state:  "Eggs baked in a small dish with a covering of cream or milk and often topped with buttered bread crumbs.  The whites of the finished dish are firm while the yolks re usually still soft."  Or, "Oeufs Sur Le Plat" would describe a similar dish in French — "eggs which are baked in small individual dishes under low heat."  But I guess it's in England that the idea of "shirred eggs" comes up.  Regardless, the eggs are terrific.

Essentially, you need oven proof dishes to bake the eggs in.  Most recipes use small ramekins, but I purchased porcelain boat-like shallow individual casseroles, or gratin dishes, specifically for this recipe after trying the ramekins a couple of times.  The presentation is more lovely, dipping toast, or laying bacon alongside is much easier with the shallow casseroles, and I feel they cook more to our liking. 

Prepping the ingredients ahead of time is an absolute must!  The dish comes together very quickly and then is popped on the table to enjoy, so be ready to dig in once it comes out of the oven.  Here's the recipe I made today, which is an adaptation of the one in Ina Garten's cookbook.

Baked Eggs in CreamImg_1227

serves 3

Preheat oven to Broil and set the rack about 6" from the heat source. 
Have ready a baking sheet on which to place the gratin dishes.

2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. thyme (approx. pulled from stems)
1/8 c. Italian parsley, chopped
2 green onions, sliced thinly
6 large eggs, whole
3 T heavy cream
1 T. butter
salt & pepper to taste
Toasted bread


  1. Break two eggs into each of three separate small bowls or cups.
  2. Toss together in a small bowl, parsley, thyme, green onions, salt & pepper
  3. In each of three oven-proof gratin dishes, place 1 tsp. butter and 1T heavy cream.  Sprinkle minced garlic over each evenly.
  4. After oven is hot, position gratin dishes on baking sheet and place in the oven for 3 minutes, or until they are bubbling.  Keep an eye on them!
  5. Remove butter/cream/garlic mixture from oven and quickly pour eggs from their bowls into each of the 3 gratin dishes.
  6. Sprinkle salted herb/onion mixture over each and return to oven for 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the eggs.
  7. Remove when edges are golden brown, and mixture is bubbling.

Set the extremely hot gratin dishes on a larger plate and accompany with buttered toast points for dipping.  For a treat, serve alongside some all fruit raspberry jam and mascarpone that has been mixed with a bit of heavy cream.  This is quite sinful to smear on a half piece of toast to end this absolutely luscious dish. 

Not exactly diet food, right?  Try it with milk instead of heavy cream.  Spray the ramekins or gratin dishes with Pam instead of adding the butter.  Add a few diced, seeded tomatoes, sliced mushrooms, or whatever your heart desires.  But I can assure you, this dish comes out extremely beautiful and anyone you make it for will be completely impressed with your culinary skills.