Sometimes I wonder what makes people try things. Who was the first to eat an artichoke? Must have been really hungry. And what made Laura Pazzaglia put eggs in a pressure cooker?
Tips for peeling eggs are a-plenty but I haven't found any that always work. This method does. Even fresh eggs leap out of their shells.
And happily, I ran across this method right after buying a new pressure cooker! It was still in the box.
The method is simple. Place the eggs in a basket in the pressure cooker, turn on heat.
When the cooker reaches pressure, start the timer. Three minutes for soft-boiled, five minutes for medium, seven minutes for hard-boiled (which some people call hard-cooked). At the end of the time, douse the pressure cooker with running water, then remove and rinse the eggs in cool water.
This worked really well for me. One time, one egg cracked (first picture). The cracks closed as the egg cooled and unlike when an egg cracks during boiling, the membrane was unaffected and no water entered the egg.
How does this work? Pazzaglia suggests the air cell at the large end of the egg expands under pressure. That's not quite right — it would shrink under pressure. I don't know all the physics at work here. I suspect the magic happens during compression (because slow or fast cooling of the pressure cooker don't affect how well it peels). The fluid portions of the egg are not very compressible. Could the pressure on the air cell cause the air to squeeze into the space? No, because the air cell is outside the membrane, and when I peeled the eggs, the membrane stayed with the shell.
One interesting note is that the inside of the shell turns brown where the air shell was. I wonder why?
Regardless, this is a great method. Recipe follows.
Not fun enough? She also cooks little egg meals — a soft-boiled egg with cheese and prosciutto, for instance — in a glass in the cooker. Nice. Hit the link to see the recipes for those.
Soft-, Medium-, or Hard-Boiled Eggs in the Pressure Cooker
Place eggs in a basket or on a heat-proof trivet in the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water and set up to pressure cook according to the pressure cooker's instructions. Turn on heat. When the cooker reaches pressure (use the lower pressure setting, if your cooker has one, start the timer, as directed below. Cool the pressure cooker:
Soft-boiled: 3 minutes.
Medium: 5 minutes.
Hard-Boiled: 7 minutes.
Cool pressure cooker quickly by running water over it, release pressure according to your cooker's instructions. Rinse eggs in cool water.
Note: The original recipe says that for hard boiled eggs, to allow the pressure cooker to cool without the rapid, running water cool-down. I don't know why it differs from the soft- or medium-boiled eggs, which it directs to use the running water. But I have experiemented several times and found that 7 minutes with rapid cool-down works and is more convenient.