Even good cooks have a hard time with hard cooked eggs.
I’ve been doing it for a lifetime, I learned how from my Mom, but still, sometimes when I try to peel the shell off it sticks and some of the white comes off with it and the egg looks battered and lumpy with little craters all over the surface.
It usually doesn’t matter because either I will be eating the egg as a snack and I really don’t care if it’s lumpy. Or, I am using it for egg salad and will be grating it or mashing it anyway.
But hard cooked eggs are a must for Passover and you can’t have some egg that looks like it’s been in a fight on the Seder plate. And also, you want a nice, smooth, lovely looking egg for everyone to eat at the start of the feast.
So how do you do it?
I’ve tried all ways. My Mom told me to use eggs that weren’t the “freshest” but that’s never really a problem with supermarket eggs, is it! Even with organic eggs, which I always buy. By the time eggs get to the store they’re not exactly right out of the chicken. She also told me to have the eggs at room temperature — take them out of the refrigerator at least one hour before cooking them.
She also had this little pick (it had a plastic handle and looked like a metal toothpick) and she would pierce the narrower top of each egg before cooking it. (Or was it the rounder, larger end? Can’t remember.)
Tried that too.
The Incredible Egg site instructions say to put the eggs in a pot, bring the water to a boil, remove the pan from the heat and let the eggs rest in the water for 12 minutes (for large eggs, 9 for medium, 15 for extra large). Some snarky relative who once criticized my hard cooked eggs (they did look awful!) said to let the eggs rest for 10 minutes.
But I did both a few times and the yellows were never cooked enough even at 12 minutes (and as for the 10-minute version, well, the yellows were still wet in the middle). I like a hard cooked egg cooked through. Light yellow and still moist, but not wet in the center.
My son-in-law Greg told me to bring the water to a boil first, then add the eggs (this is how my mother did it), then wait for the water to boil, turn the heat lower and simmer the eggs for 10 minutes, then immediately plunge the eggs into ice water.
That’s what I did today, just for practice. The yellows were perfect.
But I have to say, I used eggs from 2 different cartons bought at two different times. Despite the fact that the timing was good for the taste and texture, the shells on the fresher eggs were harder to peel. The thin membrane between the white and shell stuck, so I wound up with a few eggs with little craters on the surface.
I will follow Greg’s recipe for Passover. But I will also follow my Mom’s advice: use eggs that are at least a week in the fridge, take the eggs out way before I cook them and make extra, just in case, because, it seems, no matter how much of an expert you are and no matter how much extra advice you follow, the shells might not always come off so well.
Hard Cooked Eggs
large size eggs
Bring a potful of water to a boil. Immerse the eggs one by one. Let the water return to a second boil. Lower the heat and simmer the eggs for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Place the eggs into ice cold water.
Does anyone out there always get perfectly peeled eggs?