Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Silicone Egg Poaching Cups

I’ve been enjoying a new “toy” that I got as a Christmas gift.

I have never been able to poach eggs in the traditional way in which you bring a sauté pan of water to a simmer, use a spoon to stir a small area, then pour the egg into the swirl where (supposedly) the yolk will center and the water will “push” the whites toward the yolk. The few times I have tried this, I have ended up with strings of egg whites and underdone yolks and it has not been a pretty sight.

So, for years, I have used an egg poacher. Not a bad compromise, but the one which I have been using for the past 10 years or so isn’t a very good design and is difficult to clean. Still, I use it because it is there. Why buy something new just for convenience sake, especially when it’s such a small thing?

Well, my Mom shares my love of eggs and I was telling her a few months ago about something which I saw in a recent Williams Sonoma catalog—silicone egg poaching cups. It’s ridiculously simple—drop the cup in boiling water, crack an egg into the cup, boil. But, as I said, I have an egg poacher so I didn’t pursue it further.

On Christmas morning, as we sat around eating cranberry-pecan rolls and sipping spiced coffee, we opened our gifts to each other. After I opened one small box from Mom, I pulled the silicone egg cups out and grinned. Of course, Dad and Jack were completely confused as to what these were, and proceeded to have quite a good time between themselves guessing… one would have thought they had been in dipping into the eggnog bowl…

I have to say that I am not a fan of silicone baking pans. I have a couple and find myself reaching for my good ol’ metal ones instead. But these are a great idea. It’s so simple—shoot a little cooking spray into the cup, add an egg, lower it into a saucepan of boiling water, cover, cook until done. The silicone does not get hot, so you just lift the cups out of the water, flip onto the plate, and press a little on the bottom (if necessary) to release your perfectly poached egg. Now I cook mine until the yolk is very firm, so a different method may be necessary to release a poached egg with a runny yolk, but how difficult could it be? And these things clean so easy, too.

Mine were purchased at a kitchen store instead of through a catalog, and will probably be more readily available as time goes on. If you make poached eggs, and are flummoxed by the simmering-water-bath method, pick one or two up and give them a try!

An update to the above information:

For the past months I have used these once a week, at least, and remain quite pleased. I have discovered a few "tips" to make the process even easier:

The pot I am using above is (I think) a 3 quart. A slightly larger one would work better, as the cups are a bit difficult to get into the pot as they squish together a bit. But I'm not buying a new 4-quart just for that! Or, will I???

Keep the water level down to about 1/3 the depth of the pan. And keep the water to a simmer rather than a boil (water splashes into the cups otherwise).

I cover the pot slightly, just enough to keep the heat in, but so there is not a buildup of moisture on the lid which drips onto the eggs.

Cooking spray without a silicone in it seems to work best ("Mazola Pure", and I prefer the butter flavor, rather than "Pam"). And these eggs are so easy to unmold. Just press the underside a bit and they pop out. Seriously. Do it over a plate. :)


Mizt80 said...

Hello. I am a big fan of poached eggs also but am the only one in my family & just could not see the sense in purchasing an egg poacher to take up more room in my cabinets (I am kitchen gadget poor. lol!)
I had seen these silicone ones in some catalog a good while ago & have been looking for them since to no avail. I am glad to see that you have given some suggestions as to where to buy them and also hints on using them. I had resorted to using the method my mother used...she sterilized a plastic hairspray can lid (with nothing inside the lid) and we used that just like you use the silicone ones of today. We used the same technique with the spray, etc. They came out quite well. Of course, by today's standards, I imagine those lids will cause cancer...but what won't?? Well, thank you again. Have a wonderful day.

Vicci said...

Mizt80. I've seen these at TJ Maxx (and I think that Mom bought them in a kitchen store).
Oh, the story of your mother using a hairspray can lid is hilarious! Thanks so much for sharing it. :)

ps- I love my silicone poaching cups still, but am using a little olive oil before adding the eggs now, the cooking spray seems to make them "sticky".

Donalda said...

sollyzheI tried my new silicone egg poacher today and made quite a mess... Also - It took much longer to cook the egg. I think I will revert to the old tried-and-true method of cracking the egg into the pot of boiling water.

Anonymous said...

I am so frustrated with these things....I just can't do it right! Iend up dumping the eggs out and poaching them directly in the water! I'll keep trying!

Dot Connector said...

I was very frustrated the first time I tried these. today I tried putting them without the lid for about 2 minutes, and then covered them until they were done. Since I have fresh eggs from my chickens in the backyard, this seem to work better to get the white cooked a little more.

Fresh eggs seem to cook a lot differently than the store bought. The white has 2 layers, an outside runny 1 and a firmer inside 1. The firm white is harder to cook without ruining the yolk.

Dot Connector said...

Oh, I also had to hold the egg with a fork and dump out a little water but I didn't see this is a big problem.

Vicci said...

You know, I was never able to "get" the dropping the cracked eggs into simmering water poaching technique-- it always made a frightful mess. To those who can do it, more power to you!

DotConnector, lucky you for having access to very fresh eggs! They do cook differently than store-bought eggs, in many different ways, so keep trying.

I still use my silicone poachers at least once a week-- love 'em!

Nia said...

Got a pair at Kmart tonight, a whole two bucks for both of them...

Anonymous said...

I was very excited to try my new silicone poacher cups but was very disappointed in how long it took to cook.

I have just finished reading all the comments and will try them agan but any other suggestions?

Anonymous said...

Kitchen Queen cannot figure out her password since it has been so long since posting... oops.
Anonymous,I can't remember how long it took to cook eggs as "well done" as I like in my old poacher (never could crack the egg directly into boiling water), but I do have to start cooking the eggs in my silicone poacher a good 10 minutes before the rest of breakfast is ready.

Anonymous said...

GG said,

Had some, tried some, did not like. Hard to use,over cooked the eggs or under cooked the eggs. Bought a Kitchen aid poacher on sale Canadian Tire $69.99 for $20.00. Love, Love i, went back and bought a second one for the lake. :)

Anonymous said...

I wish I liked this sucker but it threw off my poaching routine.

I've never heard of swirling the water for poached eggs before. (I use a small sauce pot rather than a pan and fill it up almost all the way)

I just bring the pot to boil, remove from the heat altogether and then drop the egg in gently the second the water is still. Then return it to the burner and cook on med heat.

As soon as the pot is back on the burner I put my bread in the toaster. Once the toast is ready and buttered my egg is perfectly how I like it (runny yolk, firm whites) and I can scoop it out with a slotted spoon gently. (greasing the bottom of the pan helps with this)

This took too long, and even still the whites were borderline too runny. It was just an impulse buy though, because my water does become an egg white jungle the old fashioned way lol.