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Hard-boiled egg yolk (only)


MelissaH
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I just got the November/December issue of Cook's Illustrated magazine in the mail. While most of the issue is devoted to Thanksgiving-type recipes and holds little interest for me, there was a recipe for French butter cookies (sablés) that caught my eye.

But as I read the article and the recipe, I was bothered by something. They go through great lengths to describe how, for the dough, they settled on using the yolk of a single hard-boiled egg, pushed through a sieve. But then at the end, after the cookies are ready, they get brushed with egg white and sprinkled with sugar. So you're dumping a HB egg white...and a raw egg yolk. So you need to use two eggs but only use the equivalent of one. This seems wasteful to me! While there are plenty of ways to use raw egg yolks, I can't think of anything that would call for an HB egg white.

But then I started thinking: would it be possible to separate the egg, keeping the yolk intact, and cook it separately? That way, you'd only need the one egg that gets used in the recipe.

Has anyone ever tried boiling or simmering just an egg yolk? Could you possibly get away with it by bringing a pot of water up to a simmer, gently adding the (unbroken) yolk, and keeping an eye on it since the timing's sure to be different? Or would it be better to blow the white (but not the yolk) out of the eggshell and then cook the shell with the yolk still inside? Or is this an impossible task, and I'd be better off coming up with something to do with cooked egg whites?

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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Interesting question. Using a hard-boiled yolk is pretty popular in classic European cookies. I have always used the yolk, and saved the white to use in a tossed salad.

I would imagine your idea of poaching the yolk should work; I cannot think of a reason why it wouldn't. I would be sure to gently move the yolk around a bit in the water so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. (Just in case.)

I would be interested to know if this works for you.

Eileen

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As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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I sometimes eat breakfast at a local cafe that does their "poached" eggs in what appears to be (from the shape of the egg when served) muffin tins. Maybe a mini muffin tin, with one egg yolk per jem depression, could be used to hard cook a single egg yolk, or a regular tin with 2-3 yolks. The egg "muffin" could then be devided into as many pieces as there were yolks used, but I don't reccomend freezing the ones you don't use. The texture gets wierd. HTH!

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I just did this the other day. I separated the parts, used the egg white (mixed with corn starch for coating chicken). Then I put the intact yolk into cold water to cover in a custard cup. Zapped in microwave but can't tell you the timing. For sure did not bring water to boil, just cooked it gently in the hot water. Texture was lovely.

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Maybe you can make a wee bain marie in a muffin tin, put three little pebbles or beans in there as a base, add half or the egg shell and then the yolk, and cook it that way...

ETA that I think Michel Richard in Happy in the Kitchen suggests wrapping egg yolks in plastic and poaching them, but I may be making that up.

Chris Amirault

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Place the yolk in a small microwave-safe bowl, prick with a fork, and cover with cling film. Microwave (it just takes a few seconds) until it's just lost its sheen.

Mark

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Experiment #1:

Yesterday I had every intention of separating the egg, keeping the yolk intact, and gently poaching it in water. I am very good at separating eggs, and I won't even bat an eye at an angel-food cake recipe that calls for on the order of 14 egg whites. Yesterday, my skills failed me and I punctured the yolk. The white didn't get contaminated (not that it matters in this particular recipe, but it bugs me nonetheless!) but I didn't think it would be possible to poach the broken yolk without running into major grief.

So I covered the custard cup containing the broken yolk with plastic wrap, and stuck it in the microwave. Turned it on for a minute, but rescued it after only about 20 seconds.

The yolk was cooked, to the point where it was too tough to go through my sieve. So I buzzed it in a mini food processor to chop it up, and then put that into the dough. The cookies got baked this morning.

The verdict: The dough itself was a bit crumbly and difficult to form into coherent logs. This morning as I sliced the dough, it still had a noticeable tendency to crumble, and I saw definite yellow specks of yolk. I wonder if it would be easier to deal with, pressed into a pan and turned out, like shortbread. I don't know if the texture is exactly what I'm after, but nobody I've fed these to has complained about the taste.

I think the cookies are maybe a touch too sweet for my taste, but I'm concerned about reducing the amount of sugar. Maybe they'd be better if the dusting sugar was blended with a little citrus zest?

Maybe I'll be able to separate an egg without breaking the yolk today.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

foodblog1 | kitchen reno | foodblog2

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You could seal the yolk(s), broken or not, in a vacuum bag (or just a heat safe plastic bag for that matter) and drop it into hot water until cooked. Maybe suspend the bag from a wooden spoon over the pan if it doesn't seal well enough to keep the water out. Egg yolk sous vide.

Edited by Tri2Cook (log)

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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