I love weekends! Coffee, reading newspapers and relaxing over breakfast is just too lovely for words (even if it doesn't happen like that very often). Before going out walking this Sunday, I wanted to make a breakfast that would really set us up. A little while ago I watched a cookery programme on TV which featured these little treasures and I have wanted to try these ever since: "croque madame muffins" - although I'd describe them as "egg cups". How cute are these? And not only that, they are absolutely delicious and easy to make but look impressive enough to serve to guests.
I love how you can adapt these to your taste - I included ham and spinach in ours to make a kind of eggs florentine version but you could easily leave these out. If you are a vegetarian, then these are also great - no need to have the ham in them if you don't want to.
I'd really recommend you'd give these a go!
Egg cups / Croque Madame Muffins (makes 6)
6 large slices of white (or best of both) bread, no crusts
butter (for spreading on the bread)
75g ham cut into strips
6 small eggs
Optional: spinach (wilted & excess water squeezed out)
For the sauce:
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp Dijon or English mustard
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
30g mature cheddar
Salt & pepper
To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan over a medium heat. Add the flour and beat hard to form a smooth paste. Gradually add the milk, whisking continuously. Add the nutmeg and mustard and continue stirring until you have a thickened sauce. Adda little more milk if it gets too thick. Take off the heat and add the cheese, mixing well. Keep a little of the cheese aside to top the muffins with.
Preheat the oven to 180c. Flatten the slices of bread with a rolling pin and spread with butter on one side. Line a 6-hole muffin tin with the bread, buttered side down, pressing them into the bottom with a small glass.
At this stage, the whole thing may look rather unpromising (at least mine did) but stick with it as they will look fabulous once cooked.
Divide the ham between the muffin cases followed by a little spinach (if using) and a spoonful of sauce. Now add the egg. If the eggs are too large pour away a little of the white away before using to stop them spilling over. Add some more of the cheese sauce evenly over the top of the eggs, then sprinkle with the leftover cheese and a little pepper. Bake for 10 - 15 mins depending on how you like your eggs (I did ours for 10 minutes and the yolks were lovely and runny - any longer and they would have been hard). Serve immediately.
These would be ideal for a Sunday brunch! And if pressed for time, you could leave out the sauce.
(recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo's Little Paris Kitchen)