Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Birthday brunch

My sister-in-law Beth is something of an expert when it comes to eggs benedict (p95), so it was only good sense to enlist her help in making some for brunch on my brother's birthday.

Deviating slightly from the Edmonds recipe (or most eggs benedict recipes, really), we went with Beth's method of replacing the English muffins with sweetcorn fritters (p166). I've always had trouble with this seemingly simple recipe, as they tend to fall apart in the frying pan. To combat this, I accepted Beth's suggestion that we make them on a sandwich press instead.

We also put in a couple of extra ingredients as a result of Beth's extensive fritter-making experience, adding chopped parsley and shallot to the basic recipe of flour, eggs and creamed corn. With this mixture ready, Beth set about spooning it onto the sandwich press, while I made a start on the hollandaise sauce (p186).

Hollandaise sauce is a favourite with many, but with its high fat content, it's not exactly good for you. I was surprised to hear that Beth makes a successful hollandaise using milk instead of cream. Since we didn't have any cream on hand anyway, we decided to make the substitution and see how it worked with the Edmonds recipe.

You start the hollandaise sauce by melting butter in a double boiler, then add the egg yolks, cream (or in my case, milk) and lemon juice. Then comes the fun bit: you've got to stand there and stir it until it thickens and becomes a nice smooth sauce. No doubt it would have thickened a bit earlier had I used cream, and even when we finally pronounced it ready, it was still a bit thin. Beth tells me her recipe has three egg yolks compared to the two I used, and also less milk. So if you want to make a lower-fat hollandaise, make those adjustments and you'll probably get a better result than mine.

While I'd been pottering with the sauce,  my admirable sous-chef had finished cooking the fritters, grilled some bacon (another substitution - it's ham in the recipe) and completed the final element, poached eggs (p96).

I'm not great at poaching eggs, so it's a good thing Beth was there to deal with those. This also allowed me to observe her method of lowering each egg into the saucepan in a teacup, and allowing the simmering water to surround the egg for a few seconds before tipping it out of the cup. I'll have to give that a go myself next time.

From this point it was merely a matter of assembling the eggs benedict: placing a piece of bacon on each fritter and topping it with a poached egg and a generous helping of hollandaise.

For my first attempt at eggs benedict (albeit heavily reliant on an experienced assistant), I was very pleased with the result. I have to recommend the substitution of sweetcorn fritters - it makes a more hearty meal than a muffin, and if you do them on a sandwich press instead of frying them, they're much less greasy. 

The sauce, as I've mentioned, was a bit thin, but the flavour was there. By all means use cream if that's how you like it, but for myself, I think it's worthwhile to experiment with the milk version. 

However you make it, eggs benedict makes a delicious brunch - as many cafe-goers know. If it's one of your cafe favourites, why not have a go at making it yourself?

1 comment:

  1. Very tasty I thought. I was asked if I wanted 1 fritter or two and modestly opted for 1 in deference to the intrinsically fattening nature of the dish but could easily have handled 2!


Popular posts this week