This is the egg cutter I use. Michel Richard discovered it and it is by far the best that I have found.
I find that if I hold the device this way, I can gently crack the egg.
Gently push on the egg where the cutter made the crack.
To remove the white clinging to the shell, let the cracked egg simmer in water. Then carefully with your thumb peel the white clinging to the shell.
A perfectly cleaned egg.
Now you can fill the egg with softly scrambled eggs and top with caviar or you can make the Arpege egg.
A word of advice – you can make the shells a day ahead and just let them sit in the refrigerator covered. Normally I will use the eggs for either scrambled eggs or if I am doing the Arpege egg use another batch of eggs. The key is to have the eggs shells ready to use ahead of time.
See here for soft scrambled eggs:
Arpege Eggs with Maple Syrup
At the restaurant Arpege, Wells says, “one dish that won me over immediately was this adorable palate pleaser that appeared out of nowhere at the beginning of a meal: a surprising mixture of egg, cream, maple syrup, and sherry vinegar all served in the shell – an appetizer that properly awakens your palate with a jolt of surprise and a clap of acclamation.”
4 tablespoons heavy cream (I increased the amount of heavy cream to a 1/2 cup and used 3/4 teaspoon of sherry vinegar. The recipe calls for 4 tablespoons of heavy cream which is too little and 3/4 teaspoon of sherry vinegar for that amount of heavy cream is way too acidic.)
About 3/4 teaspoon sherry vinegar, or to taste
Sea salt to taste
6 very fresh eggs at room temperature
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh chives
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 2 teaspoons maple syrup
An egg cutter or a very sharp knife, 6 porcelain egg cups
1. Place a bowl in the freezer for at least 30 minutes. In the chilled bowl, whisk the cream until soft peaks form. Season with the sherry vinegar and sea salt. Set aside.
2. Place an egg in your hand, tapered end up. Using an egg cutter or a very sharp knife, carefully slice off about the top third of the eggshell. (See above for cutting the eggs). Carefully pour the egg white out of the shell into a small bowl, holding back the yolk with the flat side of a knife. (Instead, I separated the white from the yolk out of the shell after I cut off the top third and then returned the yolk to the shell.)
With a damp paper towel, wipe the bottom of the shell. (See above for cleaning the shell). Place the shell in a porcelain egg cup. (If you return the eggs to the egg carton, they are likely to stick and will be impossible to remove later.) Repeat with the remaining eggs. (I’ve never had a problem returning the eggs to the carton)
3. Select a large, shallow skillet that is large enough to hold the eggshells in a single layer. Add water to about 2 inches in depth. Bring just to a simmer. You want the water temperature to be between 165 to 175. I use a thermometer to hold the temperature steady.
4. Carefully lift the eggshells from the egg cups and place them in the simmering water (the eggshells should just bob on top of the water). Cook just until the yolk begins to set around the edges, about 2 1/2 to 3 minutes. Using your fingertips, carefully remove the eggshells from the water and return them to the egg cups.
5. Sprinkle each cooked egg yolk with minced chives. Season with sea salt and pepper. Then carefully spoon the whipped cream over the yolk up to the rim of each egg cup. Drizzle with maple syrup, and serve immediately.
The Arpege Egg done by Chef David Kinch at Manresa