The key to a quality weekend morning is beginning with a full [MC: butter soaked] breakfast. Mike and I start planning our weekend cooking at least four or five days ahead of time (you think I’m exaggerating…I’m not) [MC: it takes a bit of effort to stock up on enough eggs and butter]. Often, we’ll think back to our family favorites for inspiration.
My parents can always be counted on to execute a delicious, drawn out Sunday morning with a hearty meal. Growing up (and even nowadays when we go back to visit), my friends would sleep over and we would all wake up to the smell of sizzling bacon downstairs. We would sleepily stumble down the stairs to find the kitchen table covered with fruit, orange juice, freshly brewed coffee, and pancakes, waffles, or omelettes, or sometimes all three. Everyone sits around the table, laughing and telling stories as we hungrily pass around the dishes and devour the morning feast.
Mike’s parents similarly enjoy full, slow cooked weekend breakfasts. When we visit them in Maryland, we’re treated to a wide array of restaurant quality breakfasts. My personal favorite of his dad’s specialties (besides his scones!) is Eggs Benedict. Since he’s an Eggs Benedict Master, we decided we needed to add this to our weekend breakfast repertoire!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Bake Time: 12 minutes
- Total: 22 minutes
- Makes: 8-10 biscuits; we make one large batch of this recipe and then freeze any biscuits we don’t use for next time! They warm up nicely in the oven from frozen – just put the frozen biscuits in the oven at 200C (392F) for 8-10 minutes.
- 2 cups plain white flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 113g (8 tbsp) butter
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup milk
- Large mixing bowl
- Cutting board
- Paring knife
- Whisk or pastry knife
- Rolling pin (wine bottle can be used in place of a rolling pin 🙂 )
- Biscuit cutter (optional)
- Baking tray
- Preheat oven to 200C (392F)
- Cut the butter into small cubes. Set aside.
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the large mixing bowl.
- Add the cubed butter to the bowl of dry ingredients and combine with your whisk or pastry knife until the butter is thoroughly mixed in.
- Pour 1/2 cup milk into the dry mixture and combine. Add the remaining 1/4 cup milk to bring the whole mixture together into a dough. Knead the dough with your hands in the mixing bowl, and then transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface.
- Roll the dough out until it’s 2-3 inches thick. Use the biscuit cutter to cut as many biscuits as the dough allows – likely 8-10. (If you don’t have a biscuit cutter, you can also just form individual balls with the dough like you would with cookie dough, and then press the balls flat with your hand to make a biscuit shape.)
- Lightly grease your baking tray with some butter, and place the biscuits on it. Bake them for 12 minutes. Keep an eye on them from around the 8 minute mark onwards and remove when golden.
(This recipe is adapted from a Paula Dean recipe, so it’s HEAVY on the butter. Go big or go home!)
Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Note: this recipe took a lot of practice attempts to get right. You’ll need to work with fresh, high quality ingredients (particularly the eggs – the fresher, the better), a quality saucepan (the leftover pot from the IKEA set from college is less than ideal), and a good, familiar stovetop (our electric stovetop in our first flat was a challenge – this became much easier on the gas stove in our current flat).
- Cooking Time: 15 minutes
- Makes: About 1 1/2 cups
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 141g (10 tbsp) unsalted butter
- dash of cayenne pepper
- Small saucepan
- Cutting board
- Pairing knife
- Precut the butter into small chunks so that you can add the butter gradually once you begin making the sauce.
- Separate out three egg yolks and add the yolks to the small saucepan. Beat them with the whisk for 30 seconds to one minute, until they thicken slightly (the saucepan is not yet over any heat).
- Add in the salt, lemon juice, and 14g (1 tbsp) of the butter. Whisk all of the ingredients together with the yolks.
- Place the saucepan over low heat, and whisk continuously (and I do mean continuously! This one is truly a forearm workout). Occasionally remove the sauce pan from the heat to ensure that you’re not actually cooking the eggs.
- When you begin to see the bottom of the pan between whisk strokes (as the sauce thickens), remove the saucepan from the heat completely and begin adding your butter chunks gradually (and keep whisking!). As each chunk melts into the sauce, add the next chunk. Place over very low heat if the sauce needs assistance melting the butter.
- The sauce should thicken and turn into a heavy cream consistency. Once it has reached this consistency, whisk in the cayenne pepper.
(This recipe is adapted from Julia Child’s recipe. She uses almost double the amount of butter that we do. I’ve tried using her suggested amount of butter, and my Hollandaise Sauce always separates once I reach the halfway point of her suggested amount. I’ve started using half the amount as a result, and the sauce still comes out to a good consistency. Feel free to try her recipe, which uses 255g butter, and let us know if you have better luck!) [MC: And then go run a half-marathon].
Poached Eggs and Bacon Recipe
- Cook Time:15-20 minutes
- Makes: 4 servings
- 2 eggs per person (depending on the size of your skillet and your skill / practice, you may be able to poach up to 8 at a time)
- Water for boiling
- 1 tbsp vinegar
- 8-12 strips bacon
- Ice water
- Large non-stick frying pan
- Plastic slotted ladle
- Cast iron skillet or additional frying pan
- Small bowl
- Large bowl
- Paper towel
- Fill your large bowl with iced or at least cold water and set aside.
- Fill your large non-stick frying pan with water about 3/4 full, and add the vinegar. Bring the water to a rolling boil.
- While you’re bringing the water to a boil in the non-stick frying pan, set your cast iron skillet or additional frying pan over medium heat. Once the pan is adequately hot (remember, this is cast iron so it takes a few minutes), add your strips of bacon. We usually add a pat of butter as well to help them fry.
- Keep your eye on the bacon and turn occasionally with your tongs while you begin to poach your eggs.
- Once the water in your non-stick frying pan has reached a rolling boil, turn the heat down to low. Crack your first egg into the small bowl. Pour the egg from the small bowl into the boiling water.
- Repeat this process with the remaining seven eggs. I place my first egg at the 12 o’clock position in the pan and work my way around clockwise, so I can keep track of which egg will finish cooking first (except when I don’t, like in the picture below. Oh well).
- Allow the eggs to cook for approximately 4 minutes each, stirring the water slightly with your slotted spoon occasionally so that the eggs don’t stick to the bottom of the pan (you can gently nudge the eggs with the slotted spoon to contain them and prevent them from sticking to the bottom). Once your first egg has cooked for four minutes, remove it from the water with the slotted spoon and transfer it to your large bowl of iced water. Repeat this process with each of the eggs in sequential order.
- In the meantime, your bacon should be cooking. We prefer ours crispy, so we allow it to cook for about 10 minutes. If you prefer limpy bacon [MC: What the hell’s the matter with you], remove sooner [MC: and then go have a think about your questionable values and morals, you weirdo]. Transfer to the plate layered with paper towel.
- If your poached eggs are not being served immediately, you can reheat them when you are just about ready to eat! Simply heat some fresh water in the non-stick pan, not to boiling – just very warm. Once the water is warm, pick up your poached eggs with a strainer and submerge them in the warm water for about 30-60 seconds to reheat them.
(This recipe is adapted from Jaques Pepin’s recipe. I love watching his instructional video on poaching eggs, where he walks you through this whole process.)
Eggs Benedict – Putting Everything Together
We prepare our Eggs Benedict in the order that we’ve provided the recipes for you:
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Poached Eggs and Bacon
The Hollandaise Sauce can be prepared as soon as you put your biscuits in the oven, and once the Hollandaise Sauce is ready, cook your poached eggs and bacon. You can keep your biscuits warm once they’re ready by placing some foil over them until the rest of the steps are complete.
When everything is ready, serve the Eggs Benedict as shown below, with the bacon atop the biscuit, the poached eggs atop the bacon, and then basically smother everything with Hollandaise Sauce. Don’t forget to enjoy with some fresh coffee!