I found my first 2 egg coddlers at a yard sale. I remembered that my mother had some of these lidded porcelain containers, although I had no idea of their use.
A few years ago when I was visiting, Mom asked me to make her some coddled eggs. I knew nothing of the process and unwillingly attempted to make the eggs.
I was surprised and delighted at the way they turned out--egg perfectly set, yolk cooked by still runny, and flavored with herbs and butter.
When Mom passed away, I often made the eggs for Dad on my weekend with him. It was a ritual of sorts, I suppose, the whole careful process, the timer, the little dowel with a hook Dad had made especially to get the coddlers out of the pan.
Then Dad left us too, and a few coddlers made their way home with me. The one in the photo is smaller, holding one egg, but others will hold two. The designs are lovely and detailed, and the codddlers are so well crafted that it's a pleasure to hold one in your hands.
How do you coddle eggs? It's a simple process, really.
Here is how my mother taught me to cook eggs in them:
Put a pan of water on to boil. You will need to find the right size pan--the water needs to cover the coddler entirely except perhaps for the little ring on top og the lid. I use the 2-quart sized saucepan andthat is just right for the 2-egg coddler; you can put two or three of them into the pan to cook together.
While the water is coming to a boil:
Put a little bit of butter in the coddler, or butter the inside of the dish. Add any herbs you like (Mom liked chopped parsley, thyme andchives) or bits of ham, cheese, etc. You can vary the amounts to your taste.
Then crack one or two eggs into the coddler, depending on its size. Some of them are larger and hold two eggs, the smaller size holds one.
Sprinkle the top with salt and pepper, and put the lid on hand-tight.When the water boils, set the coddlers right into it.
My Dad had a short dowel with a cup hook in the end that was perfect for setting the coddlers into the water and taking them out. Set them so they don't touch each other.
Cook for about 5 minutes for the small size, or 7-8 minutes for the larger coddler. Lift out of the pan carefully. Your eggs should be firmly set, with the yolk still soft.
I found these website with recipes and instructions for coddled eggs: