There’s a lot been said about 63°C eggs – the perfect egg – a beast to master. I definitely agree with the former, but it’s also not too hard to do at home. There is a lot out there these days on these sous vide, slow-cooked eggs. This link is to a handy chart showing all the stages from 57°C (raw) to 75°C (hard boiled). Basically, for a ‘65°C egg’ the recipe is: 65 g egg cooked for 65 minutes at 65°C. I prefer mine between 62°C and 63°C (and cook them for a bit over an hour). The result is worth the wait. The yolk is a different dimension of creaminess and the white is soft and set. The main difficulty is that cooking them is an exercise in blind faith – you can’t tell if they’re done until you crack one open.
I’m not going to lie to you, this is not a quick and easy meal. But it does time together very well, as you can prepare the custard while the eggs are cooking and you can prepare the balsamic strawberries while the custard is baking, so it all comes together in the end. Balsamic strawberries and bacon might sound odd, but I assure you, the sweetness of the strawberries is cut brilliantly by the balsamic and the salty bacon. Combine this with the slightly spiced and hot parmesan custard topped with the perfectly cooked egg – divine!
I’ve been playing with this recipe for a while, so I also have a non-baked custard to go with the eggs for a (quicker) richer, thicker custard and a bacon, tomato and maple syrup salsa as an alternative to balsamic strawberries with bacon (image below).
63°C eggs with Parmesan custard and bacon two ways
- Four to six 65 g eggs at room temperature (I go for one per serve, plus one or two ‘testers’)
- You need a digital instant-read thermometer for this.
- Place a folded flannel or saucer on the bottom of a saucepan filled with water (the flannel/saucer will stop the eggs gathering at the bottom where it is hottest).
- Heat water to between 60°C to 65°C. I find my stove top setting of between 1 to 1½ gets it about right and I try to keep it between 62°C and 63°C.
- Add eggs once water is at temperature and cook for an hour, checking the water temperature every ten minutes or so. Add a cup of cold tap water if it gets too hot or a cup of recently boiled water if it gets too cold.
- Circulate the water and move the eggs every now and then during the cooking to keep everything even.
- After an hour, gently crack open a test egg, just as you would crack an egg normally (no need to peel) and slide onto a plate. The white should be soft, white (not clear) and wobbly. The yolk should be runny and creamy.
- If it is not cooked yet, continue cooking the rest for another 10 minutes and test again.
Baked parmesan custard
- 150 ml thickened (35% fat) cream
- 150 ml full cream milk
- 2 egg yolks
- 50 g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat oven to 170°C (150°C fan forced).
- Heat milk and cream in a saucepan on stove top until steaming.
- Remove from heat, add bay leaf, peppers and all but 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan cheese and allow to infuse for 15 to 30 minutes.
- In a heatproof bowl whisk egg yolks, then add the Parmesan-cream in a stream, while continuing to whisk. Strain custard through a sieve to remove the solids.
- Grease 4 small ramekins with butter or a spray of olive oil.
- Dispense custard evenly between each ramekin, ensuring each is no more than ¾ full.
- Place in a deep baking tray that is half filled with hot water (to make a water bath – the water should come about half way up the sides of the ramekins) and carefully place in pre-heated oven.
- Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until custard is set (but still a little wobbly).
- Remove from oven, allow to cool for five minutes, then crack a 63°C egg on top of each.
- Sprinkle a little of the reserved Parmesan cheese on top to serve.
Balsamic strawberries with bacon
- 1 punnet of fresh strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices bacon, roughly chopped
- 4 handfuls of baby spinach (optional)
- Salt to taste (depends how salty your bacon is)
- Place strawberries in a heat proof bowl on counter.
- Heat balsamic vinegar to boiling in a pan on the stovetop, then simmer until reduced by half to a honey-consistency syrup.
- Pour the balsamic syrup over the strawberries, add ground black pepper and mix to combine. Leave to infuse for about 15 minutes.
- Fry bacon in a large frypan until crisp and golden.
- Pour the strawberry-balsamic into the pan with the bacon, stirring over a medium-low heat for a minute or two, until the strawberries are softened.
- Turn off heat, add the spinach (if using) and allow to wilt.
- Serve immediately with toasted sour dough, alongside the baked Parmesan custard with the 63°C egg on top!
Parmesan custard (non baked)
- 200 ml thickened (35% fat) cream
- 3 egg yolks
- 40 g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/8 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Heat cream in a saucepan on stove top until steaming.
- Remove from heat, add bay leaf, peppers and the Parmesan cheese and allow to infuse for 15 to 30 minutes.
- In a heatproof bowl whisk egg yolks, then add the Parmesan-cream in a stream, while continuing to whisk.
- Return to stovetop and heat, while stirring constantly over a medium heat until the custard is thickened.
- Strain custard through a sieve to remove the solids.
- Serve on a slice of toasted sourdough with the 63°C egg on top.
Bacon, tomato and maple syrup salsa
- 4 spring onions, finely chopped
- 160 g bacon (approximately 4 rashers), roughly chopped
- 160 g fresh tomatoes, de-seeded and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Heat olive oil in pan on the stove top over a medium heat.
- Add spring onion and gently sauté for 2 minutes, then add bacon and fry until golden and a bit crispy.
- Add tomato and red wine vinegar, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer until the tomatoes are soft.
- Add maple syrup and turn up to medium high to cook off the liquid and reduce to a not-too-sticky syrup.
- Season with black pepper and adjust with a little additional vinegar if required, to balance.