Originally Posted by Andy M.
I guess it speaks to Julia's versatility that she had more than one way to hard cook an egg. I took the following from a cooking magzine article by her about 10-12 years ago. (it was either Food & Wine or Bon Appetit)
The wording is mine but the process is hers.
HARD BOILED EGGS
The perfect hard-boiled egg is completely cooked without being overcooked. An overcooked egg has a green coating on the yolk, a rubbery white and often smells of sulfur.
Pierce the rounded or blunt end of each egg, where there is an air space, with a pushpin or an egg-piercing tool (one actually exists). The piercing will facilitate shelling the eggs when they are cooked and cooled and help prevent cracking of the shells during cooking.
Gently lower the eggs into a pan of hot tap water. Bring the water to a boil and cook at a continuous gentle boil for 10 minutes, for a large egg.
At the end of 10 minutes (longer is not better), immediately drain the water from the pan and shake the pan back and forth with some force to crack the eggshells all over.
Fill the pan with cold water and ice and let it stand until the eggs are cold. The eggs are now ready to be shelled.
The freshest eggs are the most difficult to peel easily. As they age, peeling the shell becomes easier.
I just finished the class at cooking school that covered this topic, so I thought I'd revive it briefly. Eggs should always be a t room temperature before cooking. We were taught the method of removing the pan from the heat as soon as it reaches a full boil, and let it set for a specified time, depending on the required doneness. And if peeling is required of a hard egg, then using eggs that are more than 3 days old is advised. As eggs age, the Ph changes, and starts to break down the membrane that attaches it to the shell. This can be helped by using the above method of poking a hole in the large end of the egg with a pushpin, and then cooking in lightly salted water instead of plain tap water, but using less than perfectly fresh eggs is still the recommended way. Shocking in cold water produces a layer of steam between the egg and the shell that also helps to facilitate peeling.
The following is the cooking time schedule (after removing from heat) we got in class. This is based on cooking at 5000 ft elevation (boiling temp of 205 degrees), as I'm in Denver, Co.
4 Min_______Firm____________Set, with liquid center
7-1/2 min___all firm__________Solid, looks wet
10 min______Solid throughout__Solid throughout
These times may require some experimentation to adjust for those who live at lower elevations.