To make these easy croque madame muffins from Rachel Khoo, sliced bread is buttered then pressed into muffin tins. Each bread cup is filled with ham, eggs, and Gruyère cheese then baked until golden.
In the words of Rachel Khoo of the Little Paris Kitchen, a “croque monsieur is essentially a toasted cheese and ham sandwich. Put a fried egg on top and you’ve got a croque madame (the egg is supposed to resemble a lady’s hat). What makes the difference between a toasted cheese and ham sandwich and a croque of any sort is the cheese—in a croque, it comes in the form of a creamy cheese sauce.” And in her croque madame muffins recipe that follows, she melds all the components of the Paris classic in topsy-turvy fashion. And it works to brilliant effect—trust us, this is how you want to make eggs for a crowd. Originally published March 28, 2013.–Renee Schettler Rossi
Special Equipment: Jumbo muffin tin or 6 ramekins
Croque Madame Muffins
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 50 M
- Makes 6
- For the cheese sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (1/2 oz)
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon lukewarm milk, preferably whole, plus more as needed
- 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup grated Gruyère or mature Comté cheese (or a strong hard cheese like Parmesan or mature Cheddar), plus more for sprinkling
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- For the muffins
- 6 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 oz), melted, plus more for the tin
- 2 1/2 ounces ham, cut into cubes or thin strips
- 6 small eggs
- Make the cheese sauce
- 1. Toss the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and wait for it to melt. Add the flour and stir vigorously until a smooth paste forms. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 2 minutes. Then slowly and gradually add the milk to the paste, whisking constantly until the sauce is smooth. Place the pan back over medium heat, add the mustard and nutmeg, and simmer gently, whisking frequently to prevent the sauce from burning, until it thickens and has the consistency of a thick tomato sauce, about 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
- 2. Add the cheese to the sauce and whisk until it melts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. If the sauce seems too thick, add a little more milk; if the sauce seems lumpy, strain it through a sieve. Let it rest at room temperature.
- Assemble the croque madame muffins
- 3. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter a 6-cup jumbo muffin tin or 6 ramekins.
- 4. Flatten the bread slices with a rolling pin and then brush each slice on both sides with the melted butter. Gently press a slice of bread in each cup of the muffin tin and tamp it down with the bottom of a narrow glass, a skinny jar, a vitamin bottle, or whatever you can find that fits.
- 5. Divide the ham among the muffin cups. Crack the eggs into a small dish, 1 at a time, allowing the white to go into the dish and cupping the yolk in the shell. Gently place a yolk in each bread-lined muffin cup. Gently whisk the egg whites and pour a little into each muffin cup, not quite filling them completely. (You may have some egg whites left over and that’s okay.) Spoon about 2 tablespoons cheese sauce on top of each egg, then sprinkle with the reserved grated cheese and pepper.
- 6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on how runny you like your egg yolks. Serve immediately.