January 27, 2010 § Leave a comment
Special equipment: 6 (8-oz) ramekins or a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F. Butter ramekins or baking dish.
Separate eggs, putting whites in a large bowl and carefully sliding whole, unbroken yolks into a small bowl of cold water.
Beat whites with salt, pepper, nutmeg, and cream of tartar using an electric mixer at medium-high speed until they just hold stiff peaks. Fold in 1/2 cup cheese gently but thoroughly, then divide mixture among ramekins or transfer to baking dish, smoothing top slightly (whites will stand above rims of ramekins). Make an indentation in center of whites in each ramekin or make 6 evenly spaced indentations if using baking dish. Carefully remove yolks from water 1 at a time with your fingers and put 1 yolk in each indentation.
Stir créme fraîche and spoon 1 tablespoon on top of each yolk, then sprinkle eggs with remaining cheese. Transfer ramekins (if using) to a large shallow baking pan.
Bake until whites are puffed and pale golden (yolks will jiggle slightly), 10 to 14 minutes. Sprinkle with chives and serve immediately.
Cooks’ note: The egg yolks in this recipe are not fully cooked, which may be of concern if salmonella is a problem in your area. If desired, continue baking eggs until yolks are set.