This has to be the time for an egg related period feature doesn’t it? I’ve found the perfect thing for collectors – the egg coddler.
The birth of the egg-coddler is shrouded in mystery but it is generally accepted that Royal Worcester had a lot to do with it and they were certainly popular in the nineteenth century. As you can see, they are similar to an egg cup but they have a tight lid with a loop. The idea is that you butter the coddler and crack in an egg with sat and peeper. This is then stood in a pan of boiling water for around eight minutes – and there you have it – a gorgeous soft cooked egg just like a poached one but without all the dripping water.
These little lovelies became very popular with Victorian ladies who presided over the groaning breakfast table. They were also popular on the Continent – a large set of Royal Lily pattern egg coddlers, (also called Kitchener Pots), were used on board the Imperial Yacht of the last Tsar around 1900. The Duchess Eggs, as they were called, were the standard first course on Sunday nights in the Baltic, prepared for the Tsar’s sister, the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg. They have become highly collectible because they are small, relatively inexpensive and there are hundreds of patterns to choose from.
Lovely as the antique ones are – I have been rather inspired by the recipes I have come across which suggest adding cream, pieces of crispy bacon and cheese – sounds luscious. If this takes your fancy too there are a surprising number of modern ones for sale – I quite like these ones from Lakeland.
Maybe make some time for coddled eggs this Easter!