Friday, June 29, 2012

Breakfast! Heston Blumenthal scrambled eggs with brown butter, and Nigella's cinnamon scrolls.

So, this week, I thought I'd take it easy, and make some Heston Blumenthal scrambled eggs.

This was to be easy, because I've made them (sort of) before and thought it would be an easy win. So much so, I invited some friends of ours over for breakfast on Sunday.  Of course, as soon as my family realised that we were having guests for breakfast, they started insisting on cinnamon scrolls. Of course, eggs alone would be insufficient, they simply MUST HAVE the cinnamon scrolls. These scrolls do tend to elicit that kind of reaction, and since they are my person go-to brunch food by preference, I caved.

So. Scrambled eggs a la Heston Bluementhal, and Nigella Lawson's cinnamon scrolls from How to Be a Domestic Goddess.

I woke up (early no less!) dreaming and thinking about food, which is a good start.

Today we have 2 dishes:
  1. Cinnamon scrolls  from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, by Nigella Lawson.
  2. Scrambled eggs (sous vide method) from Heston Blumenthal At Home, by Heston Blumenthal

Cinnamon Scrolls

from How to Be a Domestic Goddess, which is, hands-down, my favourite baking book and gets used a lot in our  home.

It is saying a lot that I realised part way in that I am so familiar with the recipe that I mostly need the book out for the quantities, not so much the method. I also have a recommended alteration to the recipe - I'll note this as I go. It is pencilled in on my own copy, much to the disgust of my daughter who told me off quite sternly for writing in a book!

I do have to say if you don't have a lot of experience with bread-type baking this is a good intro as it's not difficult and gives awesome bang-for-effort. 


  1. Make up your dough (Mix the wet stuff into the dry stuff, knead)
  2. Make up your filling
  3. Roll it up into a long sausage roll
  4. Cut into pieces, let rest
  5. Bake 
Stuff assembled ready to go.

Okay, bowl of flour, sugar, salt and yeast.

Then you milk and eggs. Okay, my own suggested edit here - use 300ml of milk, not 400ml. If you use 400ml, the mix is way to wet, and you end up having to add too much flour and then the dough gets tough.

Add melted butter.

Mix it up ...

And then the wet stuff goes into the dry stuff.

Mix it up.

And ta-da! Wet sticky dough! (don't worry it gets better).

Start kneading.

It will end up nice and smooth(ish) and not sticky and sproingy when you press your finger in it.

Then it gets a bit of a rest to fatten up. (Go that good yeast!) This is actually a lot of dough, its just in my super-huge dough making bowl.

While that is doing its thing you put all the filling stuff in a bowl and mix it. This is what it looks like when its all mixed together. It uses a lot of cinnamon and butter and sugar.

Here it is a bit bigger. I do find that some batches get puffier than others, all things being equal otherwise. Don't know why it happens, but it doesn't seem to effect the outcome, so I don't really worry about it. Maybe its an atmospheric thing.

Okay now for the fun bit. Keep a chunk of dough aside to line the base of the pan. I think this is mostly so the sugar doesn't burn the bottom of the pan, having a dough layer. It all just gets pulled apart so that's fine.

Now, personally I like smaller rolls, with more spirals. So I roll mine out very thinly and extra long. The longer it is, the more rolls you'll get but they'll be smaller. If you want one-per-person fat rolls, then just follow the book (50cmx25cm). Mine was almost double that length.

Put a layer of filling all over the dough. You can use a spatula to smear it out, but I recommend using your (clean) hands. Using your hands is more gentle and you don't pull at the dough too much.

Roll it up!

Slice off individual scrolls. These are about 2-3cm thick or so.

They then sit around for 20mins or so puffing up before baking.

Then into the oven, and then here we are! Eat hot. I recommend sharing with lots of people. it makes rather a lot :)

It was good these were low stress, because it gave me time to muck about with the eggs. Recover, and still get there, albeit a bit late.

Heston Blumenthal Scrambled eggs with brown butter (sous-vide).. or not.

So this was interesting. I thought I'd try Heston's scrambled eggs done in the sous vide method. I don't own a sous vide machine, but on the How To Cook Like Heston TV show, he noted you can do the same thing with a water bath and a thermometer. It's only relatively short cooking time so I thought this would be a good test before I tried other sous vide recipes of his.


  1. Whisk the eggs, cream etc.
  2. Put in a zip lock bag
  3. Put in a water bath at 75 degrees.
  4. Squish every 3-5 mins.
  5. Serve.
Yeah. So... that's almost what happened. 

Step one was pretty straight forward. Eggs, milk, cream, salt and butter get whisked together.

Put the mix in zip lock bags. These are just regular sandwich bags.

Get your water bath ready.

Realise that you need a lot more water than you thought.  Start boiling the kettle. Get a little frustrated. Have your husband ask why you didn't just put it on the stove. Explain that you're doing what the TV program suggested.

Realise this isn't going to cut it and give up and do what your husband suggested and put water on the stove-top to heat. Admit openly he was right, much to his amusement.

Once the temperature hits that magical 75 degrees, turn the heat off and pop in your egg bags.

Now every 3-5 minutes you take the bags out with over mitts and squish ("or massage the contents".)

So this is supposed to go on for 15 minutes. And give you perfect eggs.

Except... that about 14 minutes they weren't looking cooked through yet and both bags had developed small splits (1cm) on the seams at the base. At this point what you do, or what I did anyway, is panic slightly. Apparently this looks a bit like this. (Helpful assistants photo of the event)

I should note careful examination showed the eggs were leaking out, but no water seemed to be getting into the splits. 

At this point, I reverted to the other Heston Blumenthal way of doing eggs, namely mixing constantly in a double boiler. (Or, in this case a glass bowl over water, which is my personal preference.)

The advantage of this is that you can put the butter on low (for the brown butter) next to you while you mix the eggs.

And this time, it worked!

Drizzle with nut brown butter and eat on nice toast. Yum.


So the cinnamon scrolls were good as usual, if a little extra brown as I got distracted (almost not) making eggs. A recommended recipe. If you like the cinnamon scrolls from bakeries even a little, these have those kicked to the kerb. Nothing like having them hot and fresh.

Eggs. Well, not a complete failure, though very disappointing. I'm not sure whether it was a bag fault or not but it is kind of a moot point as I could tell it both wasn't cooking in the allotted time and the texture was not as good as when I do it on a stove top over water. (It was a bit lumpier).

In future, I'll stick to my usual method - eggs, cream, milk, lumps of butter. Cook in a bowl over water on low. Stir constantly for around 20 mins. Best scrambled eggs ever. (Actually, this is a also a Heston recipe - given when he was interviewed by Radio National a few months back.)

Guest opinions:

Appreciation of the cinnamon scrolls was to form, they had strongly requested them, and so they were eaten with great relish. Eggs also enjoyed, though my husband noted (and I agreed) they just weren't as good as when done on the double boiler. Ah well, I know for next time. Given my poor experience with the zip lock bags I think I'll have to investigate a little more about if they need "special" zip lock bags and/or consider borrowing a proper sous-vide thing. Hmm.


  1. Thanks Kita, Claire is trying the Scolls.



  2. The scrolls sound good. I make an easier version involving SR flour and lots of butter and brown sugar and cinnamon, using the recipe we made in year 7 or 8 Home Ec. In the original exercise book, of course. I loves 'em. Yours look even more scrumptious! I will have to make some this week now...

    As for the eggs, I remember seeing an Iron Chef episode featuring that snaplock-bath cooking. It made me wonder if it would be a bit like microwaving stuff (you know, that kind of not-quite-cooked, steamed result?). I wasn't convinced by the Chef's enthusiasm. Don't remember if the judges were blown away or disappointed.

    The double boiler idea is interesting. I am too lazy but might waft that idea across my home chef's attention at some point! mmmmmm creamy eggs....