Today’s Kitchen is a series of posts documenting my adventures cooking through the recipes from my grandmother’s 1950’s era cooking show of the same name. These are genuine retro recipes, updated (as needed) for a modern table.
But, apparently, it’s not entirely a new trend. This recipe for $1,000 Egg Baskets dates back to 1955, yet it could easily be the next hot thing on Pinterest. (Hint, hint! Go ahead and pin it!)
Plus, this recipe is such a beautiful example of why I wanted to undertake this project: It’s got that fabulously kitschy name, the recipe is completely delicious, and as such it’s poised for a comeback in the current, modern zeitgeist.
Mini or individual servings? Check.
Made in a muffin tin? Check.
Ridiculously easy and tasty? Check.
These are basically eggs cooked with green chile in a tender, tasty, cheesy pastry crust. And served with cheese sauce.
Is your mouth watering yet?
Here’s the recipe, attributed to Pillsbury and appearing on Today’s Kitchen on June 15, 1955:
|$1,000 Egg Baskets||
- 1 1/2 cups sifted flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/3 cup shredded cheese
- 5–6 T cold water
- 6 eggs
- 6 T chile
- Sift flour and salt into bowl. Add cheese and cut in shortening. Add water and form into a ball.
- Flatten and smooth dough at edges. Cut out six circles, about 5 inches across. Fit each inside a muffing cup letting pastry edges extend 1/4 inch above pan. Cut out six more circles about 4 inches across. Cut gash in center of each.
- Break eggs into cups…salt and pepper and top with a tablespoon of chile. Cover with small circles. Sprinkle with paprika or chili powder.
- Bake at 450F. 20 minutes.
- Serve hot with or without sauce. A very nice sauce can be made by adding 2 teaspoons crushed dill seed to a regular cheese sauce.
I cheated and made the dough in my food processor; after I grated the cheese in the food processor, I added the flour, salt and shortening, then pulsed until the shortening was cut in. I then turned on the processor and added the water one tablespoon at a time through the feed tube until it made a ball. Easy peasey.
In fact, the hardest part about this recipe turned out to be cutting the circles. You have to roll the dough pretty darn thin—about an eighth of an inch or so—in order to have enough to get all the circles out. My brainstorm: I managed to find two round lids in my pantry that measured roughly five and four inches and used them as giant cookie cutters. Make sure your bottom circles do stick up above the edge of the rim of the muffin cup, or your egg might leak out.
For young children: Omit the chile for children sensitive to spicy foods. If your kids don’t like eggs, nothing is going to improve this for them. NOTE: Children under one year should not have egg whites.
I used some 505 enchilada sauce that I had left over (hence the tomato you can see in the photo), but regular roasted green chiles would be just as tasty, I’m sure. In fact, I realized that the recipe actually says “chili” not “chile,” and so I’m not a hundred percent certain what kind of chile she meant.
Perhaps my favorite part of this recipe is the lovely assumption that Grandma’s viewers would know perfectly well how to make a “regular cheese sauce,” while I’m not sure the average cook today would. So, here is a recipe for a regular cheese sauce, adapted from James Beard’s Fireside Cook Book:
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
2 T butter
2 T flour
1/3 cup grated cheese
1. Melt butter over medium heat and stir flour into melted butter to create a roux.
2. Gradually add milk, stirring constantly to avoid lumps; continue stirring until sauce has thickened.
3. Add salt and cheese and stir until cheese has melted.
I didn’t have any dill seed at the time, so we just had the cheese sauce plain, but it was excellent with the pastries. And I used extra sharp cheddar in both the pastry and the cheese sauce.
These are definitely not “light” in any sense of the word, but I think that if I were to lighten them up, they would lose some of their charm. So, consider this a once-in-a-while recipe and not an every night sort of thing. They are equally tasty with or without the cheese sauce, so you can save some calories there as you wish.
These little darlings are great for dinner, but would also be excellent for brunch.
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