Happy Easter! And happy birthday to Kª, no longer the Lady Downstairs, but now the Lady in Russia!
I never do things and post them in time for the holidays, so this post is coming from you from the distant past … Easter 2012 to be precise.
I wanted to have a bit of a take-away goodie for our Easter dinner guests, and a cute little place-marker in the bargain, so I thought, why not give everyone a chocolate egg — inside a REAL egg? There are lots of great tutorials out there on how to do this right: both Martha and Not Martha have good ones worth checking out. Me, on the other hand? I didn’t look at any of them, except to find out what not to do. So your options here are simple: you can do it the right way, or you can do it my way. This is your choice. Let the chips (of eggshell) fall where they may.
Dyeing the Eggs
Start with 12 large eggs. You may break one or two, so work with more than you need. Using a sharp paring knife, give the bottom of one of your eggs a hard poke. Not hard enough to puncture the egg sac, but enough to chip through the shell.
Once you’ve got a wee hole, start enlarging it by prying up bits of shell until you have a hole about the size of a dime. It doesn’t have to be perfectly circular, and don’t worry if you get a few hairline cracks. It will all work out in the end.
Peel up that layer of membrane as well.
Once you’ve got a decent hole, take a syringe with a long tube attached (ear syringes and irrigation syringes work well here) and poke it through the egg sac.
Flip the egg upside down and push air through the syringe into the egg so that it expels all the goo into your waiting bowl. Save those egg innards for something later on.
When your eggs are all empty, you’ll need to give them a quick rinse to get rid of anything left behind inside. I poured a bit of hot water into each egg, enough to fill it about half way, and then gave it a good shake to dislodge anything grody inside. Empty that out and you’re ready for the next phase.
Now, if you’re going to do this the right way, you’re going to sterilize your eggs first and THEN you’re going to dye them. This is because agitating your eggs during the dyeing process will result in a mottled appearance in the dye.
I, however, actually wanted to have a mottled look, so I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and dye my eggs while they were sterilizing. Easy peasy. So I filled a large pot with water and added a cup of white vinegar. I submerged all the eggs, making sure to let each one fill completely with water so it wouldn’t float.
Then I added the dye — I used food colouring here, some green and some blue to create a turquoise colour. Then I boiled it for about 10 minutes, making sure to give it a stir to agitate the eggs really well.
Make yourself a little drying rack by poking skewers into the bottom of your now-empty egg carton. Tada.
Using a slotted spoon, remove each egg and drain it of dye before sliding it onto a skewer to dry. Leave that overnight to make sure that everything is well-set.
See that nice spotting? I like it.
Everything was great until I dropped a spoon on the eggs and smashed two to smithereens. And then there were ten.
Filling the Eggs
This is the fun part. You can go crazy and fill your eggs with whatever you want. I am looking for some kind of fruit and nut combination in my chocolate.
First, weigh a whole egg to figure out approximately how much stuff fits inside it. Then take that number, multiply it by the number of eggs you have, and that’s how much stuff you need to go in the eggs.
So for me, my average egg weighed in at 60g. So I needed 600g of chocolate, fruit, and nuts to make this work. I actually needed more than that, so I suggest you up the chocolate amount significantly. It’s amazing how much an egg will hold.
I used cashews and a dried fruit combination of cherries and pineapple.
I blended that sucker in the food processor to turn it all into tiny bits.
Using a serrated knife, chop up your chocolate.
Melt it in a large bowl over a pot of simmering water until it’s smooth and glossy.
Mix in your minced goodies.
Pull your eggs off your makeshift drying rack and line them up inside the carton again, hole-side up.
Now, set a piping bag or a regular plastic freezer bag in a tall glass or pitcher so that one of the ends points down. Fill that sucker with your melted chocolate.
Snip the end, and, working quickly, fill each of the eggs to the top with your chocolate goo. You may need to use your fingers to encourage the solid bits to go through the bag if there’s a bottleneck. Allow to cool and set completely.
Just make sure to clean the chocolate off the shells before it sets. If you’re at all like me, there will be chocolate everywhere.
I was also a little bit of chocolate short, so I melted more (just plain this time) to fill the last little space in the bottom of the egg.
Now feel free to decorate them any way you wish. I used some acrylic craft paint to paint each guest’s name on the eggs. It’s hard to have good penmanship when you are writing on eggs. Apparently I am incapable of following around in a straight line. It always came up slanted every time.
Then I set each one in a wee “nest” made out of a cupcake liner and some mini chocolate eggs. Surprise!