When it comes to eggs, it can be hard to innovate. Unless you're thinking of a new food to put an egg on top of, any preparation you think of is pretty familiar to egg eaters. Boiled, fried, poached — the list is long, but we're pretty familiar with it. Or so we thought.
While recipes for cloud eggs have been floating (get it?!) around the internet since 2012, it wasn't until this past week that cloud eggs went from a little-known breakfast oddity to full-blown Insta-trend. The dish practically has a permanent hashtag in front of its name now.
Looking at these mysterious, fluffy delights, we were filled with both trepidation and intrigue: would they taste like meringue? Were they really as easy to make as recipes claimed? And will all our breakfasts have to be weather-themed going forward?
In short, no, yes, and probably not.
While there are a number of recipes available for cloud eggs (or eggs in clouds), you don't really need one. You do need, however, an electric beater of some kind, unless you have really strong forearms and some time to spare. First, separate the whites from the yolks of as many eggs as you want to eat. Next, using either a hand-held or standing mixer, whip the whites until they are stiff and spoon into clouds on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. If desired, anything from cheese to chives to bacon can be folded into the whites. Create indentations for the yolks, and them into the crevice you just made, and bake at 350°F until the whites start to brown.
The entire process takes 15 minutes from beginning to end, tops, and does turn out just as ready for close-ups as you'd hope.
Eggs in a cloud with plain egg whites (left), and with Parmesan added (right).
As to how it tastes, well, it did really remind me of clouds. We have this idea of clouds as giant, fluffy cotton balls in the sky, when in reality they are water vapour you can put your hands right through. We love to describe pillows, shoes, and beds as being "soft as clouds," but if our beds and footwear were really made out of clouds, we'd be spending a lot of time on the cold, hard ground.
While you can actually bite into the egg version of clouds, the egg whites themselves were bland and flavourless. It reminded me of the texture of a very soft puffed rice snack, or styrofoam. I put Parmesan in one egg cloud and none in the other, and couldn't really tell much of a difference, except there was more browning on the cheese one. (I might try seasoning my egg whites before whipping them next time.) The yolk is a lot more fun: the top gets a glossy, hard shell, while the insides stay runny and soft. If you like your eggs over easy, you'll like a yolk in a cloud.
But will I make the Insta-famous dish again? Probably not for myself. It would, however, be an easy way to impress a group of friends for brunch. Since it's all baked, you can make as many as your cookie sheets and oven will hold. Your friends will all just need plenty of time to take pictures before they dig in.