First of all, I want to thank Gladys — my dear friend and reader — for this wonderful recipe idea. She sent me an old Hard Boiled Eggs Gratin recipe that was found in a wooden trunk which had been hidden away in the corner of a dusty attic for generations.
I was immediately intrigued with egg gratin; it sounded like a perfect idea and looked gorgeous. Actually, I made several experiments when perfecting the recipe — you can read more about them in this post. This variation is my absolute favorite, though, because it’s so tasty: Sriracha (or homemade Sugar-Free Sweet Chili Sauce) is a great companion for this easy, nearly-zero-carb egg gratin.
Tips for making the Egg Gratin
Eggs are one of the best and most affordable protein sources. Always keep some hard-boiled eggs on hand to grab when hunger hits and you have no time to cook. My favorite snack is a hard-boiled egg with plenty of butter and sea salt: Simple, delicious, and very low in carbs!
I could praise eggs forever, but let’s talk about this egg gratin now:
I recommend using a pie pan for this gratin. A 9-inch (23 cm) pan works well, and you’ll be placing the egg slices in an overlapping pattern in the pan. This might sound challenging at first, but don’t despair! If there are leftover egg slices, just use them for other purposes (make a small batch of Egg Butter or Egg Salad), for instance). And if you find yourself running out of eggs, just boil some more!
The best equipment for slicing the eggs is, naturally, a small and handy egg slicer, though of course you can use a sharp knife instead: it’s just that slicing eight eggs with a knife takes extra time. With an egg slicer, you’re done in a minute, actually, in a couple of seconds!
I found it easier to start laying the egg slices starting from the edges of the pie pan, but feel free to do it in whatever way is easiest for you.
If you want a gorgeous-looking result, leave out the ends of the eggs. They will ruin the looks of the dish (this is a tried and tested fact!). There’s no need to waste them, though: you can toss the ends into your lunchtime salad, or mash them with butter or mayo.
Now, let’s take a look at how to make this egg lover’s dream:
Take eight hard-boiled eggs and slice them, preferably with an egg slicer.
Take a 9-inch (23 cm) glass or ceramic pie pan. Arrange the egg slices in an overlapping pattern in the pie pan, starting from the edges and proceeding towards the center of the pan.
Sprinkle the cheese evenly on top of the egg slices.
Take a small bowl and add the cream…
Drizzle the cream mixture evenly over the grated cheese.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, golden and bubbly.
Remove from the oven.
Let set 5 minutes.
Drizzle the Sriracha or Sugar-Free Sweet Chili Sauce over the gratin.
Serve with low-carb bread or focaccia. Yum!
My Egg Gratin eggsperiments (sorry! Just couldn’t help myself…)
Like I mentioned, my dear friend Gladys sent me an old egg gratin recipe to check out. I was immediately intrigued with the recipe. Hard-boiled eggs with rich cream and oozing cheese — what could taste better and be lower in carbs?
The original recipe had some parsley chopped on top. I thought parsley would be too bland with already-mild eggs, so I decided to use chopped chives instead: Chives and eggs are such a great combination.
The original recipe had eight eggs, but I decided go bold and use twelve eggs. So, for my first experiment, I took twelve hard-boiled eggs and sliced them with my brand-new egg slicer which I’d bought just for this purpose. (They only had only orange-colored egg slicers in the nearest grocery store, but they’re nice and bright, so I didn’t mind.)
I took a 9-inch (23 cm) pie pan and started laying egg slices into it. The original recipe recommended starting in center of the dish, so that’s what I did. It felt a bit difficult — the egg slices slid away all the time. The end parts were especially challenging, and the pattern was twisty rather than nicely round.
After seven eggs the pie pan was full of egg slices, but I still had five eggs left. The eight eggs in the original recipe seemed to be just a perfect amount. The original recipe didn’t define the size of the pie pan, so I just had grabbed a 9-inch (23 cm) pan because I happened to have it at hand.
For this experiment, I used coconut milk instead of heavy cream. I was creating a personalized meal plan for one of my clients, and she doesn’t tolerate any dairy apart from cheese. But I wanted to include this egg gratin in her meal plan since the recipe is so easy and satisfying. So I had to try and see if coconut milk would really work. I was a bit afraid that it wouldn’t thicken like dairy cream and would end up as a weird and unpleasant liquid layer in the bottom of the baking dish. In any case, I used slightly more coconut milk than what the original recipe called for.
Unlike in the original recipe, I added the seasonings to the coconut milk rather than sprinkling them on top of the eggs. That’s just the way I’m used to doing things. And anyway, I didn’t use anything other than salt and black pepper, since that’s what the original recipe called for.
I also used more cheese than what I’d intended. The original recipe called for 1 cup (240 ml) grated cheese, but I used 1 1/2 cups (360 ml) instead. In my opinion that was the minimum amount. My motto is, If there is cheese, let there be enough cheese! That’s why there are 2 cups (470 ml) of cheese in the final recipe.
Excited, I placed the first experiment into the oven. I was planning to bake it for maybe 10 minutes. The original recipe called for baking the gratin first for 5 minutes on the middle rack of the oven and then placing the dish on top the rack and broiling for 2-3 minutes. But I found that too complicated so I decided to bake it on the middle rack the whole time.
After removing the egg gratin from the oven, I sprinkled plenty of chopped chives over it. But my taste test revealed that the dish was still too mild (for me, at least) — the chives gave it some flavor, but I was after a real kick. I have to admit that I used really mild cheese — it was mozzarella-type, just the leftovers from the fridge. For the final recipe, I decided, sharp cheese would be a must. Sharp Swiss cheese is my absolute favorite, so that was the first thing I put on my shopping list. And, to my surprise, the coconut milk didn’t form a nasty liquid layer on bottom of the pie pan, but became a nice, creamy sauce. Yay! Well, for the final recipe, I’ve put coconut cream instead of coconut milk just to ensure you’ll get a rich and creamy result.
Here is a photo of my very first experiment with this gratin using coconut milk:
After the first experiment with coconut milk, I wanted to try out a version with heavy cream and perfect the recipe. So, let the real egg gratin eggsperiments begin!
First, I boiled a good amount of eggs:
I took eight eggs and sliced them with my egg slicer. I still wasn’t sure which spices and seasonings to use. I wanted to have something really spicy and flavorful. Then it hit me: Sriracha sauce would be an ideal match for the eggs! I often make this homemade Sugar-Free Sweet Chili Sauce, so that would also be a superb option. Drizzling the sauce over the finished dish, I thought, should make it taste best — and it would look amazing that way, too.
But I also wanted to add some seasoning to the cream. I thought about different herbs and seasoning mixes. I concluded that mustard would go well with both eggs and Swiss cheese. But what about Sriracha? How it work with mustard? I had no choice except to try that out in practice.
I added 1 teaspoon mustard powder to the heavy cream together with salt and pepper. I drizzled this mixture over the eggs and grated cheese in the pie pan.
While the experiment was baking, I decided to do another experiment with another spice. Since Sriracha was so piquant, I wanted to choose a milder seasoning instead. But what could it be? Something that adds flavor but not spiciness. Aha—onion powder! My all-time favorite seasoning, which I add to almost every savory dish! It gives a considerable — yet mild and pleasant — flavor to just about everything. I thought it should go well with Sriracha, too.
So, I made another experiment with the same ingredients, except I added 1 teaspoon onion powder instead of mustard powder.
Below are these two experiments. The one with onion powder is on the left and the one with mustard powder is on the right. You can’t really tell which is which just by looking!
My husband and I did a taste test together. Surprisingly, we both loved the version with mustard. And with Sriracha, it was seriously good! The version with onion powder tasted, well, just blaah. It wasn’t bad — just the opposite — but compared to the version with mustard, the taste was just a bit too bland.
So, for this final recipe, I’ve chosen mustard powder because it was a perfect match with Sriracha:
|Nutrition information||Protein||Fat||Net carbs||kcal|
|In total:||117.9 g||142.1 g||8.5 g||1788 kcal|
|Per serving if 4 servings in total:||29.5 g||35.5 g||2.1 g||447 kcal|
|Per serving if 6 servings in total:||19.7 g||23.7 g||1.4 g||298 kcal|
Tips for variation
If Sriracha is too hot for you, or if you are making a kid-friendly version, you can simply leave it out. Or how about drizzling the dish with this sugar-free ready-in-a-snap ketchup instead? By the way, my Low Sugar, So Simple book has an excellent 5-Ingredient Sugar-Free Ketchup recipe which I really love!) Oh, and I’m sure that this keto pesto goes well with this egg gratin, too.
Naturally, you can leave out Sriracha altogether and use other flavorful seasonings which you add to the cream mixture. Garam masala, taco seasoning, Cajun seasoning, chipotle, cayenne, and lemon pepper are just a few options.
And, if you want to make this dish mild, sprinkle some finely chopped fresh herbs on top of the ready gratin. Chives, oregano, marjoram, thyme, and rosemary are all tasty and fragrant – plus, they look beautiful!
Next, I’m going to make a dairy-free experiment by replacing the cream with homemade mayonnaise. Let’s see how it works!