HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >

Discussion

Baked egg dish - getting it cooked through

  • e
  • Enso Nov 17, 2011 06:18 AM
  • 26
  • Share

I make a dish that is a dozen eggs mixed with vegetables, meat, and cheese (I vary the particulars).

This mixture gets cooked in 2 extra large muffin tins... so, it works out to 1 egg per cup, plus the other ingreds.

Usually, the center cooks enough slower than the edges, that I have to flip them over. I would like to get rid of this step. (I also want to NOT have to stir part-way through, and JIC someone was thinking of suggesting it, a water bath is not an option.)

I don't know enough about the science of baking, and am wondering if those with some greater expertise could share whether you think any of these methods would help:

* Raise the oven temp.
* Lower the oven temp.
* Heat the veg/meat a bit in the microwave before adding to the eggs
* (Your alternative suggestion here)

TIA!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
Posting Guidelines | FAQs | Feedback
Cancel
  1. Bain-marie is the best way to go, but if you can't do that, then 2 things. One, lower the oven temp and cover for the first part of cooking and allow the steam to assist in even cooking. Uncover and brown the tops a bit.
    Two, make a frittatas and start on the stovetop, finish in oven

    Question- can you explain the part where you flip over an egg dish cooking in muffin tins?

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      The tops don't brown, even when uncovered during the entire cooking time. Sometimes the sides get too browned and stiff though.

      To flip the egg "muffins" I just use a silicone spatula--slide around the inside edge of each one and then slip it under and turn over. Sometimes requires an assist with my other hand. This is after the egg is mostly set, and when the center is still too "loose" for our taste. Different ingreds seem to affect even cooking, so sometimes this step isn't needed.

      We really like the muffin shape--two per person is the perfect serving size and very convenient to heat 'n' eat!

    2. i have this exact problem and gave up- now i start a dish with baked eggs on the stovetop, then move it the oven when its almost done

      would love to hear of any solutions! also curious how you manage to flip things over in a muffin tin

      1. At what temperature are you cooking this recipe?
        The suggestions for covering over a certain period and reducing the oven temperature are all worthy of consideration. You truly only need to know that egg whites solidify at about 176 degrees and egg yolks harden at about 185 degrees. If you use a digital thermometer ( for an accurate reading, be cure not to allow it to touch anything but the center of the food being tested) you can better judge when your recipe is ready for removal from the oven.
        I'd lower the oven temp., cover as necessary, and use the internal temperature to determine when they come out of the oven.

        11 Replies
        1. re: todao

          Covering is probably a good idea, but I don't want to go through that much tin foil and I don't want to fuss with saving it from time to time.

          Do you have a particular temp. to suggest? I'm thinking of trying 300 and seeing how that works.

          I think part of the issue is the sometimes uneven cooking between the outside edge and inside edge, so a thermometer won't be of much help.

          1. re: Enso

            Okay, you aren't willing to do a water bath and you aren't willing to cover...
            So, I'd suggest you make this recipe as a frittata, in a cast-iron skillet, started on the stove and finished in the oven. Cut into wedges, if you use a 12" skillet, one wedge would probably equal two "muffins". I don't think it's possible to accomplish what you desire without either a water bath or covering the pans for part of the time. One other possibility might be to try regular or even mini-size muffin pans, to reduce the volume. I make a baked egg/chili/cheese "bite" in mini-muffin tins and they turn out perfectly every time...firm enough for finger food, but not overcooked. So, maybe 2-3 minis would equal one of the size you are attempting?

            1. re: onrushpam

              I have nothing to create a water bath under two muffin tins. Would a pan of water on the lower shelf work instead?

              Neither do I have a cast-iron skillet (they are too heavy for me), nor a frittata thing. We want to stay with the over-size muffin tins. (The reg. sized ones hold too little; if I fill them to capacity, there is the same uneven cooking problem; if I don't then I need to make twice as many (which is twice as much bother). I don't even want to think about the production involved in using minis, though I bet they do cook more evenly.

              Of course, I'm trying to find the perfect-for-me solution. :-) And I very much appreciate the suggestions that respect my preferences and limitations!

              1. re: Enso

                you don't have a roasting pan/baking dish of any sort?

                1. re: hotoynoodle

                  Not that the tins will fit inside or on top of.

                  I do very, very little baking (and none with grains of any sort).

            2. re: Enso

              make sure to turn the pans back to front midway through cooking. are you using the center rack? old crappy dark muffin tins?

              you can run them under the broiler to brown the tops, and let them sit til room temp in the muffin tins, after baking. the heat from the tin will continue to cook them a little more. when i make quiche or any kind of savory egg custard, i ALWAYS use a water bath, and cook at 325. a 9-inch quiche may need 90 minutes or more.

              the water bath is a very simple step that makes a huge difference. this kind of thing really responds much better to moist heat while cooking. you can also make big batches and freeze them if laziness is an issue. :)

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Have tried turning the pans, may have helped some, but not enough.

                New, nonstick pans.

                There are 5 rack positions in my stove...which is the best one to use for this purpose?

                I'm thinking to gradually and repeatedly lower the temp and search for the "sweet spot". If I don't find success, I think the pre-saute of veg and meat might help.

                1. re: Enso

                  could be your oven temp is off. have you got a thermometer in there?

                  start just with the middle rack and raise them if they need more browning.

                  wait, are you putting raw veggies and meat in there? you absolutely need to cook the meat, and certain veggies can weep lots of water, making anything soggy. peppers and tomatoes, especially.

                  1. re: hotoynoodle

                    I've wondered about that. I think it's an older oven, and unfortunately electric as well. I'm sorry I never bit the bullet and replaced it with gas when we moved in over a decade ago. Anyway, now that we're planning to move soon the new place Will Be Different. ;-)

                    But, no, there's no thermometer in there. I only have one of those dials on a needle that you stick into meat to test the internal temp.

                    The veg are usually raw, but the meat has been previously cooked, though maybe comes cold from the fridge. I've avoided using tomatoes or zucchini, though often use some bell pepper, and always some kind of onion. Spinach/chard, not always sauteed ahead of time.

                    Last time included some broccoli that had just been cooked and was still warm, and that batch came out nicely (without needing turning) so that made me wonder about sauteeing/warming up the ingred before mixing into the egg/cheese mixture.

                    1. re: Enso

                      peppers, onions, greens will weep A LOT. they should be cooked first for an egg dish. the cooked broccoli shows you the difference between raw and cooked veggies in there, yes?

                      an oven thermometer is cheaply gotten in the supermarket.

                2. re: hotoynoodle

                  How about just a pan of water stuck in the oven on the lower? higher? shelf?

                  Maybe the broiler thing would work; I'll run a comparison experiment and see.

                  Laziness isn't an issue; I quite enjoy mine! :-) I find frozen egg dishes can develop less than enjoyable texture, does anyone else? It wouldn't actually save time either, because then I would have to bake in batches.

            3. I cook frittate (that's plural in Italian) starting the final mixture on the cooktop (it's ceramic). When it is evident the bottom of a frittata is starting to set, I put the frittata under the broiler to finish it off. Have you tried putting your baked egg dish under the broiler until you see it starting to brown?

              4 Replies
              1. re: ChiliDude

                I don't understand the comments about browning the top. Is this desirable to some? Or, is it just being suggested as a way to add top heat and cook the center portion of the eggs. Because I'm not bothered by a non-brown top...

                1. re: Enso

                  You haven't mentioned the temperature you start/end at yet. When making mini quiches in Texas sized muffin tins, I start at 450 degrees for 8 minutes and finish at 350 degrees for 6-8 minutes. That should work for your frittatas as well.

                  1. re: itsbubbles

                    Usually 350, I believe. I haven't kept records, which I'm going to do as I experiment around a bit. BTW, they aren't really frittatas, but oversized muffin pans I use.

                    The regular muffin pans were even worse at not cooking all the way through, because the mixture filled them deeper. I use a dozen eggs at a time, to give us 3 meals.

                  2. re: Enso

                    The egg mixture will start to brown once the moisture of the eggs has decrease. However, the process must be monitored every few minutes so that the top of the egg dish does not burn or become charred. My experience is with frittate (pl.) as mentioned previously in a cast iron skillet. This method is used to avoid the need to flip a frittata.

                    I've never tried what you are telling us, and I understood that you are using muffin pans. I start cooking a frittata on the cooktop which starts cooking the bottom of the egg mixture, and then I put the skillet under the broiler which cooks the top and also the egg mixture all the way through to the desired consistency.

                2. I think lower temperature / longer time is the way to go. Your eggs are at room temperature when you start, yes? If not, that might solve your problem right there.

                  Along the lines of a bain-marie, you could try leaving one cup empty in each muffin pan and filling it with water for the same steam effect. Covering the pan with foil would enhance the effectiveness of this, but probably wouldn't be necessary.

                  Another possibility would be to use regular size muffin tins so they would cook more quickly and thoroughly. Perhaps three per person would still be convenient, and more evenly cooked.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: eclecticsynergy

                    When I suggested regular size muffin tins I meant using more of them, rather than filling them deeper- this should give you a better result as far as cooking through. Probably should've made that clearer in my post.

                    Y'know, you could simply use a third pan that's like your other two, and put a bit less of the mixture in each cup. But I still think that if you've been using cold eggs, starting with them at room temp would be the simplest fix to try.

                  2. enso, some thoughts:

                    --cover the 2 muffin tins with a sheet pan/cookie sheet or silpat sheet instead of foil.

                    if that doesn't get them evenly cooked for you:

                    -- the method i would use or flipping them would be:

                    -( I am assuming that you pam the non-stick tins well before adding the egg mixture.And i am guessing that the egg mixture is not still liquidy)
                    --
                    When you want to flip them, run a knife/cake spatula around them like you usually do, so that they will slide out w/o sticking. With the muffin tin resting on the counter, place an upside down pam'd cookie sheet or sheet pan over them and, holding the muffin pan edges tightly against the sheet pan, flip the whole thing so the muffin tin is upside down on top of the sheet pan. Holding sheetpan edges in both hands, tap on counter (to further assure clean release of eggs) and set it down. Lift off the muffin tin and return the sheet pan to the oven. OR leave the muffin tin on top of the sheet pan and bake til done.

                    i did read you say that you like the muffin tins as containers, but another thing to consider is investing in some white ramekins (like little souffe dishes; Pier One has had them; pretty much same size as your muffin tins.) It might be possible that the egg mixture will cook more evenly in the porcelain.(I use these for mini creme brulees, individual stratas and veg. gratins)

                    do let us know what works out for you!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: opinionatedchef

                      Good ideas, everyone--thanks so much for taking the time to brainstorm with me. I'm going to try several of these suggestions, one at a time so I can track results.

                      This is one of our core breakfast dishes, so it's worth making it work better for us. We cook up a batch and then just have to reheat for the next 2 days. Plus they are very tasty and satisfying!

                      When I have some data to report, I'll update the thread.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        I don't spray them as they release well. My flipping system also works fine, and as a Certified Lazy Cooker takes less work and dishes.

                        I'm all about minimizing time and dishes to wash later! Of course, while not sacrificing healthy, appealing, and flavorful meals!! It's a challenge sometimes, eh?

                      2. Hmmm.... can't make the water bath thing happen, don't have/want to buy the right pan for the fritatta, don't want to use that much foil......and it sounds like you want to make this dish often...

                        Simple... obtain sheet metal appropriate size, design and fabricate a "permanent" cover for you muffin tins, or visit a local metal fab shop and have them made. Easy enough?

                        Ok, probably not. But I do like the idea of covering with sheet pans (no foil wasted), and also that of the ramekins. If the porcelain difference isn't enough, perhaps the ability to place the ramekins closer together than the muffin tins will allow for a water bath in whatever pans you have available.
                        Good luck, and please report back!