The Gutsy Cooks and Sweet Melissa Sunday for Breakfast and Dessert!

Sweet Melissa Sunday and The Gutsy Cooks Group are sharing a post this morning. Leslie with Lethally Delicious picked an amazing Chocolate Pudding for SMS. I have the dessert posted further down =).

I get the pleasure of hosting for the month of March at the Gutsy Cooks Club and my choice for this weekend is homemade English Muffins and Eggs Benedict. I have made English muffins before and already know the muffins are pretty easy to make. My husband is usually the one to make eggs Benedict in our kitchen, so he helped with the poached eggs. We cheat a little with the eggs and I am going to share what we do.

I enjoy making English Muffins. In fact, the first time surprised the beegeebees out of me because I had no idea English Muffins were cooked on a griddle. You can bake the muffins in the oven but the griddle is much more fun.

Victoria Blashford-Snell's recipe for English Muffins in her cookbook, The Illustrated Kitchen Bible is:
3 cups bread flour, plus more for kneading (I use my KA mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes)
1 teaspoon instant yeast (I use 1 pkg of fast rise instant yeast)
1 teaspoon of salt (I use 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
1 1/4 cup tepid water
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
2 Tablespoons of semolina (I use yellow cornmeal)

Mix the flour, yeast, and salt in a bowl. (I put the ingredients in my KA mixer and use a paddle attachment to combine.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the water and butter. Stir to make a slightly sticky dough.

Knead the dough on a floured surface for about 8 minutes, until smooth and elastic. (I change out the paddle for the dough hook attachment and let the mixer knead for 10 minutes.) Shape into a ball, place in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Let stand for 1 hour in a warm place until doubled.

Line a baking sheet with a kitchen towel and sprinkle with most of the semolina. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead. Divide into 10 balls. Place the balls on the towel and press into thick disks. (I roll the dough into 1/4" thickness and use 3" rounds to cut my dough.) Sprinkle with the rest of the semolina. Cover with another towel. Leave for 20-30 minutes, until risen.

Heat a frying pan with a lid. (I use a griddle at 325 degrees. I cook 2 minutes per side, then turn the heat down to 300 degrees and bake for another 6 minutes per side, watching to make sure the muffins do not get overly brown.)

In batches, place the muffins in the pan and cover. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-12 minutes, until they puff up. Flip and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden.

Now for the Eggs Benedict:

I use a fast blender method for Hollandaise Sauce. The recipe is from Julia Child's very first French cookbook (Mastering the Art of French Cooking, pg. 81) and has "never" failed me. The sauce takes all of 10 minutes, tops, to put together.

According to Julia, this very quick method for making hollandaise cannot fail when you add your butter in a small stream of droplets.

(Makes about 3/4 cup of sauce.)

3 egg yolks

2 T. lemon juice

1/4 t. salt

Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter

Put all the ingredients, EXCEPT the butter in the jar of the blender. Put the butter in a small saucepan and heat it to foaming hot.

Start blending your egg yolk mixture at top speed for 2 seconds. Cover, and still blending at top speed, immediately start pouring on the hot butter in a thin stream of droplets. (You may need to protect yourself with a towel during this operation.) By the time two thirds of the butter has gone in, the sauce will be a thick cream. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan. Taste the sauce, and blend in more seasoning if necessary.

Victoria's recipe for Eggs Benedict is as follows:

8 large eggs
2 T. distilled white vinegar
4 English muffins
butter, for spreading
1 cup warm hollandaise sauce

Fill a large frying pan with water to a depth of 2-inches. Add the vinegar and bring to a simmer over medium heat. When tiny bubbles appear at the bottom of the pan, carefully crack 4 eggs, one by one, into each pan.

Cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand for exactly 6 minutes. Remove the eggs using a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels.

Meanwhile, split each muffin in half and toast. Butter each muffin half and place 2 on each serving plate. Top each half with a poached egg and spoon the hollandaise over the top. Good with ham or crisp grilled bacon on the side.

Now, our version:

My husband, Larry, makes the eggs Benedict in our kitchen. He cooks very little but for some reason, he has always been drawn to perfecting this breakfast dish. Who the heck am I to complain about amazing and perfect eggs Benedict? My job is to make the hollandaise sauce and English muffins if I have the extra time.

We use either thin ham slices, crab meat, or shredded chunks of moist, smoked salmon.

Here is our secret weapon for perfect poached eggs. A $10 egg poacher pan we bought at Wal-Mart several years ago. You put about 1 inch of water in the pan and bring to a boil. Larry sprays PAM in each egg cup then adds the egg. The eggs poach with the lid on for 3 minutes.

He then takes a toothpick and runs it around the edges of the cup so the eggs pop right out.

Sorry for the dark picture but you can see our steps. TOAST the muffin halves first, a little sauce next, then the poached egg.

Put the salmon over the egg, then more sauce, and finally a little chopped parsley. AMAZING crispy, creamy, lightly lemony, slight salty with the smoked salmon. The egg yolks ooze out over the sauce, making a thick and creamy gravy. This has to be my all time favorite breakfast dish!

I had so much fun hosting and taking photos this week! Thank you Gutsy Cooks!!!!!

NOW on to Sweet Melissa Sunday if you made it down this far! Leslie, I really enjoyed how easy the recipe was to put together. Thank you for hosting and the delicious choice!

Heating up heavy cream with half the sugar was a snap. Pour half of the cream over the chocolate chunks, let sit 5 minutes, stir till smooth, add the rest of the heavy cream, and stir. Now add this slowly to your egg yolks with the sugar, vanilla, and salt. Strain mixture into a pouring cup.

Fill your ramekins, add boiling water to fill half way up the ramekins, and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.

My pudding is pretty thick and I am waiting to see if everyone else's pudding was as thick. Loved the deep chocolate flavor! Add homemade whipped cream with vanilla sugar. A great dessert to an Eggs Benedict breakfast. Thank you Leslie and please check out the rest of the SMS bakers for all the variations of this recipe. YUM!


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