Whether you call them oeufs en cocotte or coddled eggs — both are correct — one thing's for certain: these gently cooked eggs are exceptionally simple to prepare, are great for a crowd, and are sure to impress with their natural beauty. When baked in a water bath, eggs cook reliably and are easy to scale up or down according to how many mouths you have to feed.

They're easy to cater to one's tastes, whether you prefer your eggs barely licked by heat with seductively runny yolks oozing forth or are more of the fudgy-centered, hard-boiled persuasion. Just adjust the cook time accordingly (directions are given according to my preference, runny yolks). Additionally, while coddled eggs shine in their simplest, stripped-down form, they can easily be jazzed up with any assortment of toppings. Here I added a dash of color and fresh flavor with a sprinkling of minced parsley. Alternatively, try a drizzle of zesty pesto; a sprinkling of gruyère, parmesan, cheddar, or fontina; or a dash or two of hot sauce. Even better, set out a toppings bar for your brunch guests to garnish according to their proclivities.

Get the easy — and ultracustomizable — recipe below.

Oeufs en Cocotte (Coddled Eggs)

Oeufs en Cocotte (Coddled Eggs)

Notes

This recipe can easily be scaled up or down; just adjust the water-bath vessel accordingly to the number of ramekins it will house.

Coddled Eggs

Ingredients

About 1 tablespoon softened or melted butter
4 large eggs, at room temperature
4 tablespoons heavy cream
Kosher salt
Black pepper, freshly cracked
Parsley, minced, or other fresh herbs, for serving (optional)
Flaky sea salt, for serving (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bring a teakettle filled with water to a boil. Brush the interior of 4 4- to 6-ounce ramekins with butter (divided evenly between them).
  2. Crack an egg into each ramekin. Top each egg with 1 tablespoon of cream and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Place the ramekins in a casserole dish. Carefully pour boiling water into the casserole dish until it reaches halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake the eggs until the yolks are just barely set — the eggs will continue to cook due to carryover cooking, about 18 to 22 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve with flaky sea salt.