over 2 hours
30 mins to 1 hour
For the eggs en cocotte
- butter, for greasing
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 shallots, finely chopped
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- ½ garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- handful wild mushrooms, cut into 2cm/3/4in pieces
- 100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine
- 150ml/5fl oz double cream
- 2 duck eggs
- 20g/¾oz Gruyère, finely grated
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6–10 truffle slices, to garnish (optional)
For the bread
- 4g fresh yeast
- 40g/1½oz plain yoghurt
- 200g/7oz plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp salt
- olive oil, for greasing
To make the bread, put the yeast and yoghurt in a bowl, add 120g/4½oz room-temperature water and mix. Set aside for 10 minutes.
In a separate larger bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and a teaspoon of salt together. Add the water mixture to the flour mixture and mix evenly. Knead for 5 minutes in the bowl; the dough should be wet. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for about 2 hours.
Knock any air out of the dough and divide it into four 120g/4oz balls. Oil a large baking sheet, put the dough balls on it spaced apart and cover with a teatowel. Leave to prove for 10–15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200C/Fan 180C/Gas 6. Pat the dough balls down slightly to form a flat surface about 15cm/6in in diameter. Bake for 12–15 minutes (if you prefer you can cook on a lightly oiled griddle pan over a medium heat for 2–3 minutes on each side). Set aside.
To cook the eggs en cocotte, reduce the oven temperature to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Butter two 100ml/31/2fl oz ramekins or individual cocottes. Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the shallots, thyme, garlic and bay until softened. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and simmer until reduced by three-quarters. Pour in the cream and cook until reduced by half. Season with salt and pepper.
Spoon a quarter of the mushroom sauce into the bottom of each ramekin, remove the thyme and bay, then crack in a duck egg and top with the remaining sauce. Bake for 3 minutes, or until the whites have started to set. Sprinkle over the Gruyère and bake for a further 4–8 minutes, depending on how you like your eggs cooked.
Cut the bread into soldiers and toast. Garnish the egg pots with the truffle, if using, and eat immediately with the soldiers.