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May 4, 2007 10:12 AM

55 minute eggs, a la Mary Sue Miliken

Monday night I attended a lecture on food writing at Redcat in the Disney Center, downtown L.A.. Among others at this roundtable were Mary Sue Miliken and Susan Feniger, the Two Hot Tamales.
In a brief discussion, Mary Sue M. mentioned her love of the 55 minute egg. I found links to an L.A. times article in late March where she describes the cooking method:
“Milliken says she lays an inverted saucer in a saucepan (so the bottom doesn't get too hot), places a layer of eggs from the refrigerator onto the saucer, pours boiling water over them, sticks a thermometer in, and once the temperature gets down to 145 degrees, maintains that temperature for at least 45 minutes. It's tricky keeping the temperature constant at such a low setting. (For those without a super-low setting on their stove, it means turning the heat on and off.)”
The possibilities for these eggs are endless, but having company for the Mothers Day weekend and not having to fiddle with the eggs that same morning sounds too good to be true.
She mentioned at this lecture that the eggs can keep for weeks in the fridge. (Could I have been hearing things??) Her family loves them because you just drop one in a cup of hot water to reheat... and the texture is marvelous.
Has anyone tried this method? If they hold for a week, I'd be elated.

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  1. This is SO interesting! I suppose a slow-cooker would be a little too hot. Did she say what the texture is like?

    1 Reply
    1. re: bakergal

      That I recall, "creamy" was her short description the other night.
      I should have provided the link to the article. Check it out and please post if you try it!!!

    2. I read a similar article about this cooking style in French kitchens. I need to try it again, because I was completely underwhelmed and I LOVE eggs in any form. They were not quite creamy and not totally set either. Strange texture, still runny in spots. I did not use a saucer, I covered the bottom of the pot with a kitchen towel. But I only cooked a few eggs, Perhaps I need to cook a whole pan for the technique to work properly. I look forward to hearing how yours turn out.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jdm

        Is this some kind of sous vide cooking for eggs?

      2. paula wolfert discusses this in her slow mediterranean book, with various tecnhiques, based on the sephardic tradition of cooking eggs by burying them in ash. they can be roasted in the oven for 4 or 5 hours, or in an extremely low oven for 12 hours. also cooked in a slow-cooker, at 160, uncovered for 4 or 5 hours.

        she recommends holding them only for a day.

        1. these are eggs in the shell, yes?

          regularly boiled eggs in the shell hold for a week, no problem. why is this special method needed?

          eta: ahhhhh, I see, it's a super runny egg that you're wanting

          1. This caught my eye so I had to try it. I agree w/ jdm. They were good (not amazing which is what I was expecting after reading the articles on it), creamy and the yolks were not runny but just barely firm. The whites were slightly runny/gelatinous and I'd rather have them cooked and the yolks slightly runny. They're kind of high maintenance to make, just to make sure the temperature is right for the whole 55 minutes. I kept having to adjust, readjust the stove, plus it takes a while for the boiling water to cool to the right temp. Now that I've done it once, though, I know what setting to use. I think it would be easier to bring the water to a boil in the pot, add the saucer and then the eggs to make sure you have enough water, too. I'm wondering if you can get the same effect by boiling the water, adding eggs and covering w/ a lid, off the stove for a while for a shorter period of time. I'll have to try reheating them her way and see how these hold up. Overall, decent eggs, I'll probably use the technique at some point, if I need a large number of poached eggs, but not as a go-to for making eggs for the time it takes.

            5 Replies
            1. re: chowser

              I am curious, would one use the egg right out of the shell for poaching, or would you just get an early start still placing them in the water bath with a little vinegar?
              Do they come out of the shell nicely?
              Please explain why again?
              I love eggs very much too and just curious about this technique.

              1. re: chef chicklet

                If I did use them for poached eggs, I'd use it as is, just break the top and pour it out as best as I could. When I ate it, I cracked the top, and just ate it from the shell(have never used an egg cup for anything other than calligraphy but could have used one for this). It came out pretty cleanly as I ate it. Pluses--it is creamy and it slides down your throat whereas for poached eggs, you'd have to chew (that's the best way to describe the difference). Negatives--the time it takes, the constant monitoring, the yolks are not runny and the whites are. Not a good way to describe chowhoundy food but kind of mucousy consistency, maybe a little thicker. Now that I've thought of it that way, I probably won't make them again.:-p

                1. re: chowser

                  Are you talking about haminados eggs? Sometimes they're cooked for 10 hours! They're an acquired taste, I think. But fun to try and definitely better done with free range eggs. Sprinkle them with salt and cumin or aleppo pepper.

                  1. re: zataar

                    No, I was just thinking of a way to get the almost custard-like consistency of the 55 minute eggs without having to watch over the eggs for that long to make sure the temperature was correct. I thought that maybe by putting them in boiling water and turning off the stove immediately with the lid on (without further boiling the egg), I might be able to get that.

              2. re: chowser

                Coming back to these, I cracked the top shell of the rest of the eggs, peeled gently and then dumped the eggs out. My husband was really impressed with them, consistency and all. So, it must be a personal thing. I think it is interesting that the insides of the eggs, the yolk and the whites around them are more cooked than the rest. I used the remaining eggs in a carbonara which I should have realized, before using them, would be a waste when raw eggs would be better. I'll bet these would be great in eggs benedict, except I'm not a big fan of eggs benedict.