Thursday, March 26, 2015

Confessions of a failed egg-boiler

Friends, most of you know that I am not a complete moron in the kitchen. I have successfully made madeleines and macarons. I aced the famous Cajun roux the first time I attempted crawfish etouffee. I've made recipes friends and family have oohed and aahed over. I cannot, however, successfully boil an egg. Oh, I can cook one thoroughly enough to throw in an egg salad or potato salad, but I have never made pretty, perfectly oval hard-boiled eggs. It's my one lifelong kitchen flop. And so naturally, I bought a pretty egg plate over the weekend.

Isn't this dish from Portugal just lovely? It was a $7.99 T.J. Maxx find, and I thought it was just the thing to inspire some hard-boiled egg experimenting before Easter.

I think I like this design so much because of the color and because of the fact it reminds me of old-fashioned stenciling. But today, I come seeking your help and advice. I've followed cookbook directions for boiling eggs. I've used Martha's directions for "perfect" hard-boiled eggs. I even used a dear friend's very explicit directions for boiling eggs. I've boiled them longer, shorter, with more water, with less, I've let cold water run over them, I've let them cool naturally. Still, I always unpeel them and get that ugly little square shape at the end of my eggs. If any of you can share the secret to perfect hard-boiled eggs, I'd be most grateful. I want to try tea-dying some as well — you wondered when I'd get to that, didn't you? — but mostly, I'd just like to cook a pretty egg. Is there yet hope?


  1. I've never really noticed if my hard boiled eggs were perfect or not, but I just saw something on Pinterest or Facebook about pitting them in muffin tins and cooking them in the oven. Interesting idea but I'm not sure I would want to hear up my oven just for that. Anyway, I'm sure someone will have a good method for you and I will be interested in reading it, too. Good luck! (And I love the egg plate!)

  2. Dear Angela,

    This is the method I use for boiling eggs. I would say that it has given me a 98% success rate. Give it a try and let me know how it goes. Just love the egg plate. I still have the glass egg plate that belonged to my Grandmother and then my Mom. It came from Hungary when my grandparents came to this country.


    Place the eggs in a single layer in a large pan. Cover with warm water by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, turn off the heat, remove from stove, and allow the eggs to sit in the hot water for 15 minutes. Drain the hot water from the pan. Run very cold water over the eggs until the eggs are cool to the touch and peel under cold running water.

    When you want to peel a hard boiled egg, identify the skinny and the fat ends of your egg first. Crack the fat end on the counter and begin to peel from there. The fat end of the egg will contain a little air pocket, which will make for easier, cleaner peeling, without ripping into the egg white.

    Finally, and probably the most important tip that most directions for cooking eggs do not mention. Do not use eggs fresh from the grocery store. Allow the eggs to sit in the refrigerator for at least a week before cooking. Check the expiration date on the eggs when you buy them for boiling and buy the older eggs. If you are using eggs fresh from the chicken coop let them “age” for at least two weeks in the refrigerator. Really fresh eggs will be very difficult to peel.

    Hope this meets your Egg-spectations, Angela. (Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

    Extra Egg Fact

    Eggs are a staple food all over the world. Apparently, the average American eats about 250 eggs per person, per year, and the average hen lays about 250 eggs per year. So somewhere out there, there is one hen whose sole purpose is to provide you with your eggs. Fortunately, the grocery store acts as the middle man if that hen does not live at your house.

    If all of this fails, use your fabulous plate to serve other things.

    Chocolate Covered Strawberries
    Stuffed Mushrooms
    Lemon or Lime Wedges
    Stuffed Cherry Tomatoes
    Chocolate Truffles
    Mini Cream Puffs
    Mini Quiches
    Mini Anything!

    Or just put it on the wall and enjoy it.
    I have also used it for jewelry on my dresser and for sorting beads when I make bracelets.

    Have an egg-ceptional day, Angela.


    Mary Jane

    1. Those are wonderful ideas Mary Jane! I've been attracted to egg plates in the past, but felt hesitant to purchase something which I might only use a few times a year. Your ideas make it worth using all year round.

  3. Try steaming those eggs instead. Put your steamer into a deep pot and fill with water to the bottom of the steamer. Place the eggs in the steamer and put the lid on the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then turn the heat off. Let the eggs cook in the remaining heat for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how many eggs you have in the steamer. It works for me and my eggs turn out great, nice yellow yolks, never any grey. Hope this helps.

  4. Make sure to peel them under cold running water - and she's right about older eggs being easy to peel. The fresher the egg the more trouble to peel. I smack the egg all over with the back of a spoon then peel under cold water - works every time.

  5. Love your blue-flowered egg plate! Let us know your success - all dressed up on your
    pretty plate!

  6. I am smiling! No hints here, but to follow the cookbook. That's what I do and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don't. Tea dying is alot of fun. I use teabags of different kinds to get different natural shades, they are so pretty in a dish.

  7. Well, don't feel bad! My failure in the kitchen is whipped cream. I'm a pretty decent cook, but somehow I manage to mess it up every time. Yes, I do chill the metal bowl and beaters, but I never get the "stiff peaks". My friends all say it's so easy! I'm not giving up yet, and in the meantime, there's always Redi-Whip standing by in case of emergency! And I don't have too much trouble with boiling eggs!

  8. I do similar to Mary Jane except I use cold water in the beginning. One more tip I read on the King Arthur blog was to put your egg carton on it's side for. About 24 hours before Boiling so that the yolks are centered.

  9. I always had an issue with hardboiled eggs, UNTIL a friend enlightened me: a microwave egg cooker, 4 eggs in 8 is by Nordicware.

    It is reasonable, tried to upload a picture but not able, it is white, three pieces, so simple to use: put water in the bottom, eggs in the holder then close it up.

  10. Here's the link to doing them in the oven. I have not tried this.

  11. Angela, You are so sweet and so funny. I am with you on boiling eggs. I never get all of them right. The last time I was at TJMaxx on the main island of Puerto Rico I found an even smaller egg plate. It has about half as many places for hard boiled eggs. I have not used it yet, but I thought if I boil enough eggs that I would have 6 halves that look nice for my new egg plate. So, if nothing else works we can always keep boiling eggs until we get enough and use the not-so-perfect hard boiled eggs for egg salad. Other comments have good ideas for us. Good luck!

    I just went and bought an electric egg cooker (my mom and sister love theirs), but I have yet to use it. Target is clearancing these out, so I had to call a couple to go find it.

  13. I bring the eggs to a boil and turn them off and time from there. I then put them in a bowl of ice water and it makes it easier to peel. That egg dish is just lovely. I hope you get some lovely eggs this year.


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