Julia Child has been one of our cooking inspirations for many years and this recipe is an adaptation of the one she has published in Mastering the Art of French Cooking and was one of the very first dishes we made when we started cooking out of her cookbook.
One of the great things about this breakfast is that it can be changed to fit many diets and tastes. It's naturally gluten-free and can be made vegetarian by substituting herbs in place of the ham...or in addition to it! Fresh dill is one of our favorites, especially if the ham is replaced with lox but feel free to experiment...ground sausage, crumbled bacon, and even mushrooms are great! Also, feel free to change up how much cream you use and how firm you cook the yolks. Some like more and some like less. The sweet-spot for us is enough cream to cover the bottom and then a dribble or two over each yolk to make sure they don't dry out while cooking although the bain-marie helps prevent that. Either way, make sure you have some toast on the side to soak up all that creamy, yolky goodness!
Technically, this method of cooking is called 'shirring' and the French name is 'Les Oeufs en Cocottes' which translated means 'Eggs in Ramekins'. Always nice how French dishes sound like they have fancy names but really, they're just as boring as ours when translated.