Product Type: Fusion Brands Kitchenware
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No more cracking up in the kitchen thanks to these silicone saviours!
Fusion Brands Poachpod Egg Poacher
Member Name: GodfatherOfSoul
Fusion Brands Poachpod Egg Poacher
Date: 19/03/12, updated on 25/07/13 (99 review reads)
Advantages: Easy to use. Produce consistent results. Very easy to wash after use.
Disadvantages: Removing the egg can be tricky if you don't grease the pods well.
I love a good poached egg. You can't go wrong with one on a slice of buttered toast or as the accompaniment to any well-made meal. Unfortunately the little blighters are so difficult to get right causing me a great deal of frustration and heartache when I bodge it up. Surely I'm not the only one who marvels at those people who can crack an egg into a pan of hot water and lift out a perfectly formed poach egg a few minutes later.
I am aware that there are many supposed secrets to producing the perfect poached egg. I've heard it all; a dash of vinegar, a pinch of salt, a splash of lemon juice and stirring the water to form a whirlpool. These tips only serve to deplete my store of condiments and I think I would have as much success if I were to throw my own shoes into the pan alongside the egg.
For me, the perfect pan-poached egg is a mystery I have long since made peace with. I put it down as one of those mystical and impossible arts like licking your own elbow or neatly folding a fitted sheet.
However, there is a solution. I refer to the poach pods, which are to the inept egg poacher what an ocean liner is to a castaway.
[Against my better instincts I have refrained from littering this review with egg-related puns. So, this one aside, let's crack on.]
=== What are poach pods? ===
Simply put, a poach pod is a small silicone pouch for holding the egg together whilst it cooks in the pan. This solves the problem of the egg white dispersing throughout the pan and forming a mass of albumen webbing. You won't have to add any salt, vinegar or methylated spirits to your pan to get the egg to stay together. You simply crack the egg into the pod and place the pod into a small amount of simmering water in the pan. No water will come into contact with the egg and you will be presenting onto your plate a perfect poached egg in a matter of stress-free minutes.
The poach pods themselves measure 8cm in diameter by 7cm tall and come in two shades of green - one light and one dark. The rim of each pod is slightly wavy and not uniform all the way around. This is to make them easy to hold and move with your egg inside. There are also three small holes near the upper edges of each pod which I can only assume are to help you in lifting them in and out of the pan (using a fork prong for example).
=== How to use them ===
Firstly, you will need to coat the inside of each poach pod with a small amount of oil or butter. I use olive oil on mine which works brilliantly and is of course the healthier choice. I use mild olive oil so that less flavour contaminates the egg. I prefer my eggs to taste of egg not of oil or butter. You will also only need a very small amount of oil as it spreads well onto the surface of the pods and is easy to apply with either your finger or a pastry brush.
Next you simply crack an egg into each pod - obviously, being careful not to get any shell in with the egg. I use large sized eggs in the poach pods and there is still enough of a gap between the egg and the pod rim to prevent an overflowing situation. Medium or small eggs will also work just as well because of the domed design of the pods. Add salt or pepper to season if you like.
The next step is to add about an inch or so of water to a pan and bring it to a simmer. You will only need to add a little amount of water because the main cooking force behind the poach pods is steam (more on this soon). The poach pods do not need to float on the water and will sit nicely on the base of the pan. Be careful not to add too little that the pan dry boils before your eggs are done and not to add too much so that the simmering water splashes over the sides of the poach pods and into your eggs. You will find out the ideal amount necessary for your pan after a few practices.
It is important to select the correct size pan so that you can fit two poach pods in the pan if necessary. Both pods should sit happily alongside each other without squashing together.
To lower the poach pods into the pan once the water is simmering you can use whatever technique works best for you. I prefer to use my fingers but this way you have to be careful not to burn yourself on the pan or the water. You can use a slotted spoon if you have one handy or you can make use of the little holes on the top edges of the pods to lower them in using the prongs on a pair of forks. This is a little tricky though and liable to end in disaster if you are not careful. Alternatively, you can place the empty pods into the pan first and then crack the egg in then if you find this easier. There is no right way to do it but the wrong way is whatever way means that you spill the egg over the side and into the pan.
Next, and probably the most important step, is to place a pan lid over the pan whilst the cooking is taking place. This keeps the steam from the simmering water inside the pan and is essential to cook the top of the eggs in the poach pod. The heat from the water will cook the underside of the eggs through the silicone of the pods and the steam will cook the top part of your eggs. If you don't have a pan lid then a plate will also work but it is important to keep an eye on what is happening inside the pan. This is to make sure that the water is not bubbling up too violently and splashing your eggs. Turn the heat down if this is happening.
It is also important to keep an eye on the progress of the eggs. In my experience the eggs are done when the top of the egg is nice and white. This will vary depending on how well done you like your poach eggs though. I like mine to be runny and don't mind a bit of slimy egg white if it means I have a runny yolk to dip my soldiers into.
Again, the timing will come with practice. The top of the egg is always the last part to cook and when the egg white has started to turn from transparent to solid white the time to pounce is near. By following this rule of thumb I always get my eggs nice and runny and cooked all the way through. Leave them in a bit longer if you prefer a slightly hardening yolk.
Next is the slightly tricky part. When your eggs are done, it's time to switch off the heat and remove the pods. Again, any technique is acceptable. Again, I prefer to use my fingers (I don't have a great self-preservation instinct) and simply lift each pod out individually using both hands. You can use a slotted spoon to scoop up the pods but you may need to use a guiding finger to keep the pods level. The magician's act of using two forks through the holes on each side of the pod is also a viable technique.
When out of the pan you simply need to run a butter knife or a spoon around the edges between the egg and the pod to loosen it. Then turn the pod upside down over where you want your eggs on your plate i.e. over the toast. Simply push the base of the pod inwards to encourage the egg to fall out and voila! You should have a perfectly poached egg.
A small word of caution here - sometimes the egg white can stick to the poach pod if you have not applied enough oil before cracking the egg. This can leave you with a slightly uneven poach egg surface and at worse a two-part poached egg. Not ideal.
To avoid this, make sure you apply enough oil and that the poach pod surface is coasted thoroughly before cracking the egg into the pod. As I said earlier though, you don't need a great amount of oil but only need to make sure you spread it around well. This is where butter comes in useful since it will stick better to the silicone of the pods and is easy to see where you have missed. I don't like buttery eggs though and find oil works just as well if you do it thoroughly.
Although I appear to have described the instructions to assembling a car from scratch, the whole process from start to finish will not take much longer than a modest five minutes. You can save time by bringing your water to a simmer whilst you prepare the pods. My eggs take about 3-4 minutes to cook from the moment they are placed in the pan of simmering water.
=== Consistency of results ===
Because of the shape of the poach pods, the finished poach egg will look round and smooth. The inverted domed base of the pod means that when popped onto your plate, the egg will look like a small dome. There is a uniform layer of egg white above the yolk and when cut the yolk oozes out. I really like the look of the eggs these pods produce consistently. They look professional and although they may be a bit flatter than pan-cooked poached eggs they still look like the real deal.
As I say, the timing of your eggs comes with practice and you will quickly work out how long you need to leave the eggs to get your desired result. This will depend on your preference, pan type and hob type. For example, gas hobs here are best because they regulate the heat much better than electric hobs. Saying that though, I have used these on both hobs and they work equally well. It is just easier to prevent the water from bubbling up on a gas hob.
I have two poached eggs about once a week and have been using these poach pods for the best part of two years now. On the whole, my eggs turn out perfect every time but I sometimes get the occasional 'some assembly required' poached egg. This is because I have either failed to grease the pods thoroughly or have rushed and tried to force the eggs out of the pods without running a knife around the edges.
=== Washing ===
Washing the poach pods is really straightforward. I find that the best way to wash them is to flip them inside out and scrub them with a scrubbing brush or dish cloth. Because the pods are made from silicone they come clean very easily and will not require muscle-busting effort.
Often all that needs cleaning is the oily residue left over and some bits of cooked egg white stuck to the inside. Warm soapy water is all that's needed here. And because no egg was ever put directly into your saucepan, the pan will only need a quick rinse.
=== Verdict ===
If, like me, you are incapable of cooking a poached egg unaided in a pan of water then these are definitely for you. They take the pain and misery out of cooking poached eggs and provide reliable consistent results. No more failed attempts; you will be able to enjoy perfect poached eggs without subscribing to witchcraft and wizardry.
=== Price/Availability ===
These are currently available at Amazon for £4.54 and from Lakeland for £4.99. You will also find them in several big supermarket stores in the kitchenware aisle at a similar price.
Thanks for reading :)
Summary: An easy and reliable way to cook poach eggs without tearing your hair out.