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A piece of toast topped with baked (shirred) eggs.

Herb and Gruyère-Topped Baked (Shirred) Eggs

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Source: The New York Times Magazine, October 27th, 1985 (My mother truly has been making this since 1985!)


  • Use the quantities of herbs as a guide — I never measure anymore.
  • Prepare for some trial and error: getting the desired doneness of the eggs may take some practice. Once, for instance, two of the eggs were perfectly cooked — yolk runny but not too runny; whites nicely set — and two of the eggs were overcooked. I discovered afterwards that the overcooked eggs were in ramekins that were a little bit thinner than the ramekins holding the perfectly cooked eggs. So, the thickness of the ramekin makes a difference as does the temperature of the oven (every oven is different) as does the height of the water in the water bath as does the number of ramekins you have in your baking dish. I advise you start checking for doneness after 9 minutes. Just press the top gently with your finger. Keep in mind, too, that they continue to cook after you take them out of the oven.


  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary, loosely packed
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped sage, loosely packed
  • 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream (or half and half)
  • Tabasco
  • 8 eggs
  • 8 tablespoons grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Bring a tea pot filled with water to a boil. Combine herbs in a small bowl. Butter eight 4-oz ramekins. Crack one egg into each ramekin.
  2. Season eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Pour 2 teaspoons cream, 1 teaspoon (about) herbs and a few dashes of Tabasco over each egg. Sprinkle with about one tablespoon of cheese.
  3. Place ramekins in a baking dish large enough to ensure they do not touch each other. Pour boiling water into dish so that it reaches one-third of the way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake 9 to 14 minutes depending on variables noted above for medium cooked eggs.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Eggs, Breakfast
  • Method: Baked, Oven
  • Cuisine: American