Eggs Benedict

‘Eggs Benedict is the star, the Marilyn Monroe of brunch’ wrote A.A. Gill in ‘Breakfast at the Wolseley’. He is so right.

This decadent wonder dish, rich and voluptuous, is always a special meal, that’s why I made it last week for my husband’s birthday brunch. I decided to make my own English muffins, and they turned out exactly how I wanted them to be. Light, airy, and golden. I often hear rumours about Hollandaise sauce, on how hard it is made, whether it ‘splits’ or not, but I have to admit I find it rather easy. Perhaps I have had good practice, it takes me less than 10 minutes to make a good hollandaise. It’s really about timing and temperature. Once you got the hang of it, it’s easy. Egg poaching is successful if you stick to one golden rule – once you put them in the boiling water, leave them alone for 3 minutes and put a lid on. I added a few asparagus to this dish as they were in season and go so well with the sauce.

Ingredients (serves 4)

8 slices bacon (fried)
8 organic eggs (poached)
4 English muffins (see recipe)
12 asparagus – base trimed (optional)

Poached eggs:
8 organic eggs
2 tsp white distilled vinegar

Poached eggs:
In a shallow pan of boiling water, add 2 tsp of vinegar. Prepare your eggs by breaking them into little cups/pots so it’s easier to pour into the boiling water. When the water is boiling, pour in the eggs in different areas (maximum four at a time – or the water temperature will get cooler). Leave them alone, cover with a lid for 3 minutes, then check if they need a bit of ‘pushing and shoving’ to make their form rounder. You can use a large slotted spoon for this. Depending on how well you like your eggs cooked, 3-5 minutes should complete the task. When ready spoon each egg at a time onto a plate. Set aside.

Hollandaise sauce:
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp cold water
175 grs clarified butter
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt and pepper

Whisk the egg yolks with the water until light and foamy in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water and whisk non-stop until it becomes smooth and creamy, add the butter slowly and whisk away. I have a little trick – I lift the bowl on and off the heat regularly, so there is no chance I overcook the sauce. Finally add the lemon juice and continue whisking. The sauce should be creamy and fluffy. Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

Home-made muffins

English muffins:
300 ml lukewarm water
560 grs plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 egg whites

In a large bowl, pour the lukewarm water and mix first, the yeast, then the flour, salt and baking soda. Mix well until smooth and add the stiff egg whites. Mix well. If it’s too sticky, add a bit more flour, if it’s too dry, add a bit of water. On a floured surface, knead the dough for 10-15 minutes. It’s quite an exercise, but well worth it. The dough should be elastic and silky. Place in an oil coated bowl (just rub a bit of oil on the sides and base of the bowl) and cover with a clean cloth. Let rise 1 hour in a warm place. Once risen, roll out again onto a floured surface and shape either with a round cookie cutter, a glass or simply with your hands (8 cm width and 2 cm thickness). Let the dough rest for 30 minutes and you can start frying them in a slightly oiled frying pan 4 minutes on each sides on medium heat.

Fry the bacon. Cook the asparagus in salted boiling water for 8 minutes max.

Finally, when all your ingredients are ready, all you have to do is assemble. First the muffin (toasted is better), buttered or not, add the bacon, then the poached egg, the hollandaise, the asparagus. Now you can indulge.

23 thoughts on “Eggs Benedict

  1. Your English muffins look like perfection! One question though – directions specify adding ‘stiff’ egg whites. Do you mean they should be beaten til stiff then added or is that a typo? Also appreciate that you’ve got the perfect butter/yolk ratio – butter can not be skimped on in this recipe! A lovely birthday breakfast, for sure.

  2. This site… Food for the soul, the eyes, the nose (really!). And for a very happy tummy, i’m sure.

    Could I ask you, what do you mean by instant yeast? Here in Norway we have three options: fresh or dry yeast, or baking powder. What would you suggest I use?

  3. These English muffins are simply wonderful! I cannot wait to use them for our Eggs benedict will make a wonderful start into Christmas day! Happy Holidays!

  4. Wow! Eggs Benedict is our family’s favourite breakfast, but I had never thought to make the English Muffins before, and never realised that they were fried.

    Do you think the hand kneading is necessary or do you think I could do them in the bread machine, then roll, shape and fry them?

  5. Love eggs benedict! I made eggs yesterday with my blog The Hungry Actress but topped it with prosciutto and pesto… just started my blog and I’m so inspired by you!

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