Benny and the Jets: Eggs Benedict with Fresh English Muffins

Eggs Benny is one of my favourite brunch dishes. I'd never attempted to make it at home before but seeing as it isn't terribly tricky to prepare, this definitely goes in the "Make it Again" file. Actually, it would be even faster if I didn't make the English muffins as well. My previous Eggs Benedict encounters have shown that crab cakes and even pancakes make perfectly suitable bases.

Is it worth making the English muffins from scratch? If you have time, then go for it! I prefer the flavor of these (none of that slight tanginess in the packaged versions). That being said, there is a difference in texture. These are more uniformly crumbed and bread-like, rather than filled with the nooks and crannies characteristic of the store-bought ones. The dough is prepared like a normal yeast dough, but the muffins are baked on a griddle which browns them on the top and bottom. 

Of course, it wouldn't be Eggs Benedict without the velvety Hollandaise sauce draped on top. The sauce is made from very few ingredients: just lemon, egg yolks and butter. The mixture must be whisked constantly over a water bath to keep it from curdling and splitting. (If it does split, remove it from the heat and throw in a tablespoon of cold water, whisking quickly.) Since it was too early to do all that whisking by hand (...okay, okay, it was past noon), having a hand mixer came in... handy.

Oh, and rather than topping the English muffin with the usual Canadian bacon, I used some smoked Sockeye salmon for a little West Coastiness. :) 

Recipe after the jump!

Eggs Benedict

English Muffin
Yield: 18 muffins

1 cup milk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast 
1 cup warm water (110 F)
1/4 cup melted shortening
6 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt 

  1. Warm the milk in a small saucepan until it bubbles, then remove from heat. Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Let cool until lukewarm. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, shortening and 3 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Add salt and rest of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise.
  3. Punch down. Roll out to about 1/2 inch thick. Cut rounds with biscuit cutter, drinking glass, or empty tuna can. Sprinkle waxed paper with cornmeal and set the rounds on this to rise. Dust tops of muffins with cornmeal also. Cover and let rise 1/2 hour.
  4. Heat greased griddle. Cook muffins on griddle about 10 minutes on each side on medium heat. Keep baked muffins in a warm oven until all have been cooked. Allow to cool and place in plastic bags for storage. Muffins are best split around the middle using a fork.

Hollandaise Sauce
Yield: 1 cup

4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Salt, to taste

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

English Muffin recipe from LindaPinda at allrecipes.com
Hollandaise sauce recipe from Tyler Florence 
Images property of beets and bites

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