Last week, our son had his long-awaited “baked egg” food challenge at a nearby Swiss hospital. Since he had never consumed egg before—our avoidance of l’œuf was based solely on positive skin and blood test results—we really had no idea what would happen. Hives? Itchy throat? Full-blown anaphylaxis?
Obviously, our allergists wouldn’t have recommended a food challenge if they didn’t think he would “pass.” So, while I remained positive, I prepared myself for the worst. Luckily, the best possible result happened, and here’s a quick summary of our crazy morning:
5:45 AM – Meant to get up at 5:00, but slept in. Quickly got dressed and packed lots of allergy-friendly snacks (some of which were baked in the wee hours the night before).
6:00 AM – Woke up the boys. Our food-allergic son could only have water before the test, so he skipped breakfast while I poured some cold cereal for my oldest son. My husband also left at this time to pick up a rental car, since we no longer own one. We would usually just take the train, but decided a car was the easiest option, given the uncertainty of our visit.
6:30 AM – Car seats and children in place, we left for Vevey.
7:45 AM – Arrived at the hospital.
8:30 AM – After getting checked in by the doctor and nurse, my son took his first small dose of very cooked egg. After this initial dose, every 20 minutes he got another increasing amount of egg mixed with applesauce. His heart rate and blood pressure were monitored before each dose. He only wore a diaper, so the staff could watch his skin for any potential changes. He also wore his superhero cape (thanks, Grandma!) and goggles, which made him feel a little more comfortable in the hospital bed.
10:30 AM – My son finished his final and largest bowl of baked egg. Then, we waited a full hour to make sure he had no reaction. We shared a room with two other patients also undergoing food challenges, and everyone had good results—such a relief! The doctor said that about 50 percent of their food challenges involve baked egg.
11:30 AM – After having no reaction whatsoever, my son was free to leave the hospital. The food challenge was over. Now, it seems we have three more challenges ahead of us: (1) milk, (2) almond and (3) raw egg.
Given my son’s non-reaction to baked egg, we can now feed him:
- Pasta made with eggs
- Baked goods, such as cakes and cookies, cooked for approximately 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F.
Egg-based items that we still need to avoid:
- Scrambled, fried or hard-boiled eggs
- Pancakes and French toast
- Egg-based desserts, like tiramisu or chocolate mousse
To welcome baked eggs back to our home, I made a Dutch Baby for breakfast this morning—a delicious fluffy pancake that just isn’t the same without real eggs. I used to make this often before we learned about our son’s allergies. Here’s the quick recipe, if you haven’t tried one, adapted from my favorite Betty Crocker cookbook. I made sure to bake it for 30 minutes at 200°C/400°F, so it was safe for my son, but if you can tolerate eggs, 25 minutes would probably be enough.
Dutch Baby Pancake
2 tablespoons vegetable-based margarine
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup soy or rice milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla sugar or vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
Powdered sugar and lemon juice
Optional – top with fresh fruit or jam
1. Heat oven to 200°C/400°F.
2. Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat. Brush or swirl margarine onto sides of the skillet.
3. Whisk eggs until fluffy. Then, mix in remaining ingredients just until blended (do not overbeat).
4. Pour batter into the heated skillet. Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes (in our case, I baked it for the full 30 minutes). Remove from oven when nicely browned. Sprinkle with lemon juice and powdered sugar. Serve immediately.
Our family is overjoyed with these test results. We also scheduled a food challenge for milk in mid-June, and as always, I’m trying to be cautiously optimistic… Regardless of what happens next, for now, we’re enjoying the return of baked eggs to our household on a more regular basis!