At my age, I’ve long since mastered the simple hard-boiled egg – by about 40 years! I know how to get a creamy yellow center and a soft tender white. And I know to buy eggs ahead for easy peeling and to plunge them into ice-water or under cold running water to stop the cooking. And yet still, sometimes, I’ve struggled with the peeling. Was it time to look at other methods? Like steaming?
I was intrigues for awhile by Alton Brown’s oven baked eggs. He proposed two methods, one in muffin cups (which left dark areas on the whites) and the other baking on a kitchen towel. Frankly, the scorch marks on the first turned me off and the second scared me…and my towels are bad enough without adding in scorch marks (or possible fire) to the mix.
Recently, though, I came across a few articles about steaming eggs. What the heck, it was worth a try. Out of two dozen eggs, all peeled perfectly except for the one on the upper left in the bottom photo. That had one small mar. I didn’t even have to peel them under water – the shells practically fell off. I didn’t check the date on the package but had them in my fridge for about a week.
The method left the whites a bit harder and the yolks a little less even in texture than boiling. Two eggs that I assume were near the edge of the pan where the steam came up full force had a slight tinge around the outside of the yolk. That may have been my fault as I steamed quite a few at a time for my small steamer basket. Something to watch for, though.
As far as doneness, recipes generally state 12 to 13 minutes. I like mine a little moist, so in the photo at the top of the page, I tried 11 minutes (the top egg) and 12 minutes (the bottom egg). What I’ve yet to see in print is that whether boiling or steaming, the number of minutes is going to depend on altitude and of course, egg size. It’s always wise when trying a new method to do a test egg or two to find your ideal doneness.
From now on when I need eggs where the whites need to shine – like for deviled eggs, I’m going to steam. And I’ll probably steam a couple of extra ones just in case any are a little dark! I think the small sacrifice of an egg or two (which I won’t waste, I promise) is worth the easy peeling and the firmer whites are actually a bonus for deviled eggs.
- 6 to 12 large eggs
- 1 to 2 trays worth of ice-cubes
- Equipment: A large pan with a lid and steamer insert, large bowl
Fill a large pan with an inch of water and bring to a boil. Add eggs to a steamer basket and as soon as pot is boiling, add the insert, eggs and all. Cover.
Cook eleven to twelve minutes for hard boiled eggs. Immediately place eggs in a bowl of ice water and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes.
Peel under running water if necessary. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.
from the kitchen of www.frugalhausfrau.com