I love Sundays.
Things really start to wind down with Sunday. That works for me since the busy Monday is just round the corner.
For me, the best thing I love about this day is it is time to explore the kitchen and whip up something indulgent, like these Croque Madame Muffins.
I'm currently reading my latest cookbook acquisition, Rachel Khoo's The Little Paris Kitchen and she inspired me to get cracking on this cute recipe.
Even though most of Rachel's recipes are French in the book, there is a local connection as her dad is Malaysian. The book is pretty good with simple recipes and eye catching pictures.
These "muffins" definitely are cute and even though the bechamel sauce takes a bit more time to make, it was rather easy to whip it up. I love how the baked eggs are runny so when you split them open, they spill out their golden richness on the plate. Super yum!
My only complaint was I could not get my hands on Gruyere cheese so I settled for the less pungent Emmenthal that seemed to not add any dimension to the creamy sauce. I guess next time, it will be a stronger cheese. And since I could not find my rolling pin, I substituted using a bottle of extra virgin olive oil to flatten those bread slices. Since I had leftover sauce and the bread crusts, I used them to make a savoury bread pudding with a sprinkle of melted cheese.
Croque Madame Muffins (Makes 6, adapted from The Little Paris Kitchen)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard (used champagne mustard instead)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
30g Gruyere cheese (had to use Emmenthal, you can use Comte or Parmesan)salt and pepper to taste
6 white bread slices, crusts cut off and flattened thinly
3 tablespoons melted butter
75g ham, cut into strips
6 small eggs
To prepare the sauce: Melt butter in a pan, add flour. Beat to form a smooth paste. Take off heat, cool for 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk, until there is no lumps. Place pan back on medium heat, add mustard and nutmeg, simmer gently for 10 minutes, whisking to prevent burning and clumping. As it thickens, remove from the heat. Add the cheese, stir till it melts. If the sauce is too thick, whisk in some milk. Sieve if there are lumps.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Brush each flattened bread with melted butter. Press in a 6 hole muffin tin (I used a silicone one). Press down with a small glass. Divide ham between muffins followed by the egg. If egg is too much, pour away a little of the egg white. Put 2 tablespoons of sauce on top. Sprinkle with cheese and pepper. Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on how runny you like your eggs. Serve immediately.