An egg corral (aka egg ring, pancake ring) is a steel round ring, about 9 cm wide (3 ½ inches), used to contain and mould eggs while cooking them.
They can be used in a frying pan to shape perfectly rounded fried eggs or perfect rounds of scrambled egg.
When you are poaching eggs free-standing in water, cracking the egg open into an egg corral can help keep the egg together better. The catch is, though, that the egg often ends up sticking to the corral, and by the time you manage to get it out, your poached egg might not look any better than if you had just stuck to practising your whirlpool effect for poached eggs.
Some egg corrals have a handle on the side with a wooden knob on it, to make them easier to manage when hot. Others have a handle that join four together at a time.
Many are not dishwasher-safe.
Even in perfectly flat pans, some scrambled egg may leak out from under the edge of the egg corral. But that escaped egg usually cooks up in seconds, sealing the leak and preventing more egg from flowing out.
When using egg corrals for fried eggs, it’s best to have a large pot cover, such as that from a Dutch oven, that you can place over top the rings to speed up cooking, as you can’t flip them easily otherwise.
Egg tends to stick to everything, and that is true even with non-stick egg corrals. When the egg is cooked, you will probably need to either gently shake the ring of cooked egg out, or run the tip of a table knife around the inside edges (or use a plastic heat-proof spatula for this to prevent damaging non-stick pans.)
In a pinch, tuna fish cans, washed, with the tops and bottoms cut off (mind the sharp edges.)
Aka “egg rings.”