A complete country breakfast in a muffin. Inspired by The Rebel Within, a much more frou-frou concoction from Craftsman and Wolves in San Francisco. Makes 6 large muffins.
6 soft boiled eggs, carefully peeled then thoroughly chilled (see *NOTE)
1 ½ c all purpose flour
1 ½ c buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
4 T melted butter (or more if you feel like it)
2 scallions, finely chopped
¾ c country sausage (I use Jones Dairy Farm), cooked then crumbled
½ c cheddar cheese, grated
¼ c Parmesan cheese, grated
¾ t salt
¼ t ground pepper
¾ t baking powder
1 ½ T sugar
Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients including flour, salt, sugar, pepper and baking powder. Add the buttermilk to the beaten egg in a bowl then stir in melted butter. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in wet ingredients; stir until just combined. Add cheese, chopped scallions and crumbled sausage and mix thoroughly.
Butter the interior cups of a popover pan (you could use a regular muffin pan, I guess, but the bigger pan is much better) and spread the batter over the bottom and the sides of each cup, leaving a well in the middle. Place one soft boiled egg in the well of each cup. Cover the egg with remaining batter. Cook 40 minutes or until tops are browning and the butter is sizzling in the cups. Cook slightly before serving.
*NOTE: Craftsman and Wolves somehow manages to get the yolk to remain liquid inside the muffin; a lot of people wonder how they do this, now including me. I experimented with three different egg preps. #1 was cooked at 146.5 degrees in a sous vide bath for 45 minutes, then immediately plunged into ice water. #2 was cooked 13 minutes at 167 degrees, then immediately plunged into ice water. #3 was cooked in a more mainstream method: chilled eggs were placed in boiling water, cooked 3 minutes, then plunged into ice water.
All of my eggs had set, not runny yolks after cooking the muffins, though none was fully hard boiled. The most free-form of my eggs, the #1 prep, set up pretty well inside the muffin (it’s my feature picture), making me wonder if you might just shape a well in the muffin batter using an egg in its shell then pour a raw egg into the hole. However, that’s not what they do at Craftsman and Wolves, where the smooth surface of the egg inside the muffin proves it was definitely cooked in the shell.
Maybe they partially freeze the eggs? Maybe they cook at a much higher temperature, with or without convection, so the outside cooks faster than the inside? I’ll do some more experimentation, but the current recipe is too good to hold back (I definitely prefer it to C&W’s aristocratic version, which includes crème fraiche). Anyway, I’m not sure a self-respecting redneck would eat an egg that wasn’t cooked all the way through.
ADDENDUM: after I wrote up my recipe I ran across a very detailed report of Rebel Within experimentation by Follow Me Foodie. Mijune has several very good ideas like warming up the buttermilk so the batter temperature is higher when it goes in the oven, and using more leavening which will make an airier batter that cooks faster. She also succeeded in getting a runny yolk in the finished product through a technique that would take a lot of practice. (On my first run I ended up with 2 usable eggs out of 5.) Her article gives me motivation to continue playing with this. For now, however, the recipe above is quite delicious and if it were not for those damn Craftsman and Wolves bakers we would never worry about the runniness of the yolk….