The dash of butter and cream, as well as the salt and pepper that are baked along with the eggs, contribute a flavoursome smoothness and there is an absolute guarantee that there won’t be a single scrap of gritty crushed shell to deal with. Welcome, too, is the ease with which your teaspoon and bread fit into the ramekin, which is just that much roomier than an egg in a shell.
Although I love the delicacy of these plain eggs, they can also be dressed up with other ingredients. One of Roux's suggestions is to scatter a little finely diced ham over the eggs before they are cooked. Just before serving, place a few toasted hazelnut halves on top of the eggs and ham. Another suggestion is to warm a small amount of smoked fish in cream seasoned with mustard, then spoon a little of this into the ramekins before dropping an egg on top.
- Take out of the refrigerator 1 egg for each person. Preheat the the oven to 170C, not fanbake. Take small ramekins that have a capacity of about 150ml. Generously brush or wipe the inside of each ramekin with soft, but not melted butter, stopping the butter just below the top edge. Season the butter with salt and pepper.
- Break the eggs one at a time into a small dish, then slide them into the ramekins. Gently pour about a tablespoon of cream onto each egg white, taking care that none runs onto the yolk.
- Put the ramekins into a shallow baking dish and pour boiling water around them to come halfway up the ramekins. Place in the oven. After 10 minutes, the egg white should be just set and the yolk still runny. Bear in mind that the eggs continue to cook when they are taken out of the oven.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven and lift each ramekin out onto a small plate. Serve immediately.