This is a nice way to serve eggs- a little different and elegant, but at the same time simple and satisfying.
I think that when anything is prepared individually it's usually a little more special.
Time has been taken and attention has been given for each little detail several times over.
This dish can be a beautiful, warm and comforting sort of thing at times- and it seems to be one of those foods that's good to serve most of the year. Autumn, winter, and spring... but maybe not so much in the summer.
It can be used for breakfast, brunch, or as part of a light lunch or dinner.
Serve with toast and/or a salad. Perhaps fruit salad for brunch, and green salad at any other time of day.
You want the white to be set, however the yolk should only to be softly set.
But the whole little dish becomes a creamy, silky savoriness once cooked...
Oeufs en Cocotte
6 T or more heavy cream
1 T butter (more or less)
4 sprigs thyme, leaves stripped and chopped
Freshly ground black pepper
Optional: 1 clove garlic finely minced, additional fresh herbs such as chives and parsley, finely freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and place a kettle or pot with water on to boil.
Butter 4, 1/2 cup ramekins and pour 1/2 T of cream into each. Break an egg into each ramekin, sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. If using garlic, divide minced garlic among tops of eggs. Pour at least 1 T cream over the tops of the eggs (sprinkle with Parmesan if using), and place a small lump of butter on top of each yolk.
Place finished ramekins in a baking dish that will fit all of them comfortably, so they sit flat, and with a little space between. Pour boiling water into the baking dish so it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 8-10 minutes, until the whites are set and the yolks are softly set. The eggs will continue to cook after being removed from the oven.
With a pair of tongs, carefully remove the dished from the water bath and serve.
If using additional tender herbs, chop and sprinkle over the finished eggs.