The marvelous and difficult thing about eggs is that even the slightest tweaks in how they’re cooked can have a huge impact on their finished texture and flavor.
The technique I’m sharing here is a little different from your standard scrambled eggs: You slowly stream beaten eggs into simmering heavy cream, which results in soft ribbons coated in a custardy sauce — and a dish that’s earned a place in my brunch repertoire.
My friend Lara Hamilton, who owns Book Larder, a cookbook shop in Seattle, first turned me onto the idea of cooking eggs in cream when she told me about a recipe for cream-fried eggs in Lisa Steele’s 2022 book, “The Fresh Eggs Daily Cookbook.” In it, you heat heavy cream in a skillet until bubbling, slip a few cracked eggs on top of the cream, then cook it all until the cream breaks and caramelizes. (It’s nearly identical to a technique for caramelized cream eggs that Alexander Talbot published in the long-running industry blog Ideas in Food in 2019.) You wind up with fried eggs that have liquid yolks, cream-coated whites, crispy edges and the rich aroma of brown butter.
In his 1903 “Le Guide Culinaire,” the chef Auguste Escoffier outlined the typical French process for scrambling eggs with cream, calling the technique “unalterable”: Seasoned beaten eggs are cooked in melted butter while being stirred constantly. Once the eggs are custardy and smooth, they’re finished by stirring in fresh butter and a heavy drizzle of cold cream.