Have you ever tried to make gluten-free eggs Benedict at home? I remember my first eggs Benedict I ate in New York City about 10 years ago. It was our first assignment abroad and we were very excited about the prospect of living in the the United States for a couple of years. So there we were, one Sunday morning, having breakfast at this beautiful restaurant in the middle of NYC and enjoying our first eggs Benedict ever. The harmony of a perfectly poached egg sitting on a crunchy English muffin and topped with delicious sauce Hollandaise will stay in my memory forever.
Until recently I had never thought of making eggs Benedict myself. After all, you need English muffins for classic eggs Benedict. This, of course, meant plenty of gluten and was therefore no option for me. But then I recently saw all these delicious pictures of eggs Benedict in an Austrian newspaper. And, also, a friend of mine posted pictures of her mouthwatering English muffins she had made over the Christmas holidays. So I just had to try and develop a gluten-free version of English muffins so that for the first time in my life I could make gluten-free eggs Benedict at home.
When making gluten-free eggs Benedict, best start off with baking gluten-free English muffins. Place all “dry ingredients”, i.e. corn flour, corn starch, tapioca starch, white rice flour, psyllium husk powder, locust bean gum powder (or xanthan gum powder) and salt in a large bowl and mix it thoroughly with an electric mixer.
Yes, I agree, it seems like a lot of ingredients. But only a balanced mix of gluten-free flours and starches and of course the use of gluten-free binding agents (like psyllium husk powder or xanthan and locust bean gum powder) ensures a satisfying outcome of gluten-free English muffins.
Next, prepare the “wet ingredients”. Heat up the milk until it shows a warm temperature and add the butter to let it melt in the warm milk. Then lightly beat the egg and add it to the milk-butter-mixture, together with a tablespoon of canola oil. As the acid of the apple vinegar caused my milk to curdle the first time I poured it into the milk-butter-egg-mixture, I decided to add the vinegar to the dough at a later point in time, which worked out just fine.
As next step, prepare the yeast. Mix two teaspoons of active dry yeast and one teaspoon of granulated white sugar in a small cup. Then add 100 ml (≈ 1/2 cup) of lukewarm tab water and stir slightly. Now let the yeast-sugar-water-mixture rest for a couple of minutes until bubbles develop at the surface.
As soon as the yeast is ready, pour all wet ingredients (don’t forget the vinegar) and the yeast-sugar-mixture into the dry ingredients and mix it for about 2 minutes in your electric mixer. The dough may appear quite soft at the beginning, but the longer you mix, the more sticky it gets, as the psyllium seed husk powder absorbs water from the dough during the mixing process.
Now it is time to give the dough a warm water bath to help it rise. I simply fill in hot water in a big extra bowl and place the mixing bowl inside. Also, it is very helpful for the dough to rise if you cover the mixing bowl with a cloth so that the warmth stays in the bowl. After about 1.5 hours the dough should have approximately doubled in size and you can take it out from its bowl.
Before you place the dough on a dry surface you should dust it with sufficient corn flour before kneading it shortly by hand as otherwise the dough will stick to the surface. It is also a good idea to sprinkle corn flour on top and bottom of the dough before rolling it out with a rolling pin to a thickness of about 1 cm (≈ 1/2 inch).
Then take a circle-shaped cookie cutter with a diameter of 9 cm (≈ 3-1/2 inches) and cut out rounds.
Now place the muffins on a tray covered with parchment paper and sprinkled with cornmeal. You should also put some cornmeal on top of the muffins and cover them with a cloth for its second rise at a warm enough place. I find it easiest to take the tray and simply put it on top of a very big bowl filled with hot water so that the warmth comes from below and helps the muffins rise. This second rise will take about 45 minutes.
To bake the muffins, best use a heavy pan. My favorite frying pan is made of cast-iron as it spreads the heat very evenly. Heat the pan at medium heat, spread a little bit of cornmeal in it (you can also oil it) and then bake the muffins for about 7 minutes on each side at low to medium heat until they show a light brownish colour. Then let the muffins cool.
The finished English muffins can be conveniently stored in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. When you need them for making eggs Benedict, simply forksplit and toast them. Once I also cut them in half with a knife but found out that forksplitting gives much more of a roast aroma when toasted.
Next, take a round-shaped smoked ham and roast it in a pan. If the ham slices are thick enough you will need only one slice of ham per egg Benedict (otherwise, take two).
Now comes the sauce Hollandaise which people are usually quite afraid of to make. But there is a really safe and simple way to make it by using a hand blender.
First melt unsalted butter in a small saucepan at low heat. Then place 2 yolks, mustard, lemon juice, water and salt in a high glass jar and mix everything with a hand blender. Continue mixing and slowly let the melted butter drizzle in. And that’s basically it!
Finally, check if the sauce needs more seasoning and add more water if the sauce appears too thick (otherwise add more butter). To keep the sauce Hollandaise warm, place the glass jar in a warm water bath.
Last but not least, you need to make poached eggs. First, boil water in a wide saucepan and add a little bit of vinegar. Then crack an egg in a small cup. As soon as the water starts to bubble, place the pan elsewhere and carefully pour the egg in the water to let it simmer for about 3 minutes (which gives a nice softish egg and a still liquid yolk).
If you have a very fresh egg, you need not do much to have the yolk stay in the middle of your poached egg and the egg white nicely wrapped around it. But chances are, that your eggs from the supermarket are not that fresh any more. This means, that you might experience trouble for your egg white to wrap around the yolk by itself. Now you have two choices: You can either take two large spoons and very carefully try to turn the egg around a couple of times so that the egg white wraps around the yolk in the center.
Or, a way which I find much more convenient and safer, you take a large spoon and spin the water in your wide saucepan clockwise, carefully pour the egg in the middle of the pan, and let the spinning water do the work for you. As you can make only one egg at a time, you may want to use more pans at the same time and place the finished poached eggs at a warm place in the meantime.
To serve, place the roasted ham on a toasted English muffin half, put a poached egg on top and pour sauce Hollandaise over it. Sprinkle chopped chives (and if you like cayenne or paprika pepper) for garnish and enjoy your very delicious gluten-free eggs Benedict!
g = gram
ml = milliliter
TBS = tablespoon = 15 ml
tsp. = teaspoon = 5 ml
1 cup = 1 cup [US] = 235 ml = 16 tablespoons (TBS)
1 stick of butter = 1/2 cup = 113 g (= 4 oz. = 8 TBS. = 24 tsp.)
1 pound (lb.) = 0.454 kilograms (kg) = 454 grams (g)
1 ounce (oz.) = approx. 28 grams (g)
1 inch (in or “) = 2.54 centimeters (cm) = 25.4 millimeters (mm)
1 liter = 1,000 ml = 1.0567 US quarts (liquid)
1 quart = 1 US quart (liquid) = approx. 0.946 liters