Q.: At Christmas I have a brunch for approximately 15 people. I would like to serve eggs Benedict. How can I make about 10 eggs ahead of time and keep them warm so they will be ready to assemble in the completed dish?
— M.A., Norton
A.: Poached eggs are always a little difficult, because timing is everything to get the centers just how you want them, not too hard, not too runny.
I would suggest that making the eggs be the very last thing you do. Have water simmering, eggs broken into individual cups, English muffins toasted and on a platter keeping warm in the oven, with the ham or Canadian bacon already in place. Have your Hollandaise sauce already made, so all that’s left to do is to poach the eggs, put them on the muffins, sauce them and head to the table.
If you make poached eggs in advance and keep them warm, the eggs will continue cooking, so that two hours later, you’ll be serving the equivalent of hard-cooked eggs, or worse overcooked eggs, not poached.
Here is a method for poaching eggs in advance from the Joy of Cooking: Poach the eggs and then plunge them into a bowl of cold water to stop their cooking. Store in the refrigerator up to 24 hours in a bowl of ice cold water. To reheat the eggs, place them in warm — not boiling — water.
This won’t keep you from having to reheat the eggs before serving, and I can’t guarantee they will be the exact consistency that you desire, particularly if you like your poached eggs on the softer side.
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