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Breakfast Buttercups

From Cook’s Country February/March 2011

Breakfast Buttercups

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:For the sake of convenience, we opted to bake our Breakfast Buttercups in muffin tins instead of individual ramekins. Pretoasting the bread in the oven before adding the egg, cheese, and meat, and switching from large to medium eggs, prevented the eggs from turning the bread cups into soggy mush.

To ensure the whites cooked through without overcooking the yolks, we warmed the eggs in their shells with hot tap water. Just to be safe, we removed the buttercups from the oven a few minutes before they were done and tented them with foil to let the eggs finish cooking by residual heat.

Makes 10 buttercups

Note that while 99 percent of our recipes call for large eggs, medium eggs are called for here.

INGREDIENTS

  • 10 medium eggs
  • 10 slices hearty white sandwich bread, crusts removed
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 10 thin slices deli Swiss cheese or cheddar cheese (about 5 ounces)
  • 5 thin slices deli Black Forest ham (about 5 ounces), halved crosswise
  • Salt and pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Place eggs in large bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let sit 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, following photos 1 and 2, roll bread as thin as possible with rolling pin and press into 10 perimeter cups of 12-cup muffin tin, leaving 2 center cups empty. Brush bread cups with melted butter and bake until light golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes.
3. Following photos 3 and 4, top each cheese slice with ham slice. Make cut from center to 1 side of each stack. Fold each ham and cheese stack into cone and press into toasted cup. Crack 1 egg into each cup and season with salt and pepper.
4. Return muffin tin to oven and bake until egg whites are barely set and still appear slightly moist, 14 to 18 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Let sit 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

ENGINEERING THE CUP

1. Roll the bread thin before pressing it into the muffin cups; this makes it easy to shape the bread without tearing it.

2. Pinch in the opposite long sides of the bread and press each slice into a muffin cup. Brush with butter and bake until light brown.

3. Cut a slit from the center to one side of each ham and cheese stack.

4. Fold each ham and cheese stack into a cone and place each cone in a toasted cup. Now you’re ready to drop in an egg.

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