I have always felt that hollow Easter eggs are just a bit disappointing. It’s not so bad if there are sweets or toys hidden inside, but otherwise all that hollowness doesn’t quite seem to live up to the promise of what a chocolate egg could be. But that was before Gill (the Grandee who was such a mine of knowledge about decorating eggs) told me that when she was a child they would use hen’s eggs as moulds to make solid chocolate ‘eggs’. It wasn’t only Gill, of course. I know a lady who grew up in New Zealand and remembers doing this with her mum.
It turns out to not just be an ingenious idea but a lot of fun to do too. Make them together on Good Friday – surely a true test of willpower for anyone who gave up chocolate for Lent – to crack open on Easter Sunday.
Prepare the eggs:
First of all you need to wash and dry the outside of the egg. Then blow out its insides using the technique in the section on painting and decorating eggs. Bear in mind that one of the holes needs to be large enough to get the melted chocolate in through, but the other one really has to be quite small or else your chocolate will leak out. If you are a good egg blower, then do that and just widen one of the holes when you are done. Or another way is to only make a hole at one end, open that hole up to about a centimetre and just pour out the egg insides.
It is really important to clean out the inside of the egg. Pour through hot water and then pop the egg for 10 minutes into an oven which has been preheated at 150degrees. That will dry out the insides and kill off bacteria.
Prepare the chocolate:
One of the great things about making eggs this way is that you can use whatever kind of chocolate you want to. They are bespoke easter eggs. A production line of egg helpers could even have a go at making a different kinds of egg to suit varying tastes. I found that 100g of Dairy Milk was exactly the right amount to fill one supermarket ‘large’ egg. Break the chocolate up into pieces into a bowl and then place the bowl over a pan of simmering water to melt it.
Prepare to get messy:
Once thoroughly melted, it’s about how to get the chocolate into the egg. One way is to scoop the melted chocolate into a piping bag, feed the nozzle into the egg and pipe it all in. That will be quick, easy, straightforward and not nearly as much as fun as the alternative. Which is to spoon the chocolate in bit by bit, with it inevitably dripping around the egg and having to be teased into the egg. A good tip is to hold the spoon a little way above the egg so that the stream coming off it gets a bit narrower to aim at the hole.
Fill the egg right up with chocolate, stand it up in an egg box and then leave to set in the fridge overnight. Or over-two-nights for my plan of making on Good Friday.
The eggs can now be painted and decorated, ribboned-up or wrapped in crepe paper to be given as terrific easter egg gifts that should trump any store-bought hollow egg.
Eating the eggs is best if they’ve been out of the fridge for a few hours to soften the chocolate just slightly. The shell will need to be bashed on a hard table to start to break the shell enough for eager hands to peel the rest off. Leaving the last third or so of the shell mould on the egg gives something to hold onto as it is nibbled into, otherwise there are going to be some very chocolatey hands around. Not that any littler members of the family will mind that too much – somehow I think that might just add to their Easter fun.