Coddled eggs are made by very briefly immersing an egg in the shell in boiling water (to cook in water just below the boiling point) to slightly cook or coddle them. The best eggs for coddling are the FRESHEST EGGS you can find (if eggs are more than a week old, the whites thin out). Whites of fresh eggs will gather compactly around the yolk, making a rounder, neater shape.
It seems that a lot of people have never seen or used an Egg Coddler. Egg coddlers have been used in England since the 1800s. The original name for an egg coddler was pipkin.
An egg coddler is a porcelain or pottery cup with a lid that is used to prepare a dish called coddled eggs. The eggs are soft-cooked and similar to poached eggs, but the eggs are cooked more slowly than a boiled egg. The lid is a secure top that either clamps on or screws on the dish/cup.
The egg or eggs are broken into the buttered coddler and seasonings of your choice are added. The coddler is then closed with the lid and partially immersed in boiling water for a few minutes. When the eggs are cooked to the desired firmness, the coddler is lifted from the boiling water, the lid removed, and breakfast is served, in a lovely decorated dish.
Warning: Egg coddlers should not be used in the microwave. Do not allow your egg coddler to come in contact with an open flame or direct heat. Do not try to cook on a stovetop or burner.
In a large pot, bring water to boiling. Using paper towel or fingertips, butter the inside of the Egg Coddler and the inside of the metal lid (you can also use olive oil, cooking oil, or non-stick spray).
Using room temperature eggs, break 1 or 2 eggs (according to size of the egg coddler) into the cup, and season to taste with pepper and salt. If you use eggs straight from refrigerator, it will require a slightly longer cooking time than an egg that has warmed to room temperature.
Other ingredients can be added to the egg coddler before cooking (such as grated cheese, chopped herbs, and/or chopped ham or bacon). Adding a little cream can make your egg richer and more filling.
Screw on the lid (do not screw the lid on very tightly - a loose turn is sufficient)
Stand the egg coddler in a pan of boiling water making sure that the water level only reaches halfway up the porcelain body of the coddler, as the egg coddler should not be totally submerged in boiling water.
Simmer for 5 to 8 1/2 minutes, depending on the size of your coddler and the size of your eggs (see chart below).
Remove the egg coddler from the water using the end of a fork/spoon through the lifting ring or lift using oven mitts or other heat-proof gloves. Set the coddler on a towel, or trivet (not on a cold heat-conductive surface, such as a counter top. Using a towel and holding the lid by the rim, not by the lifting ring, twist the lid to loosen it.
Serve at the table in the coddler.
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