It’s Easter Sunday and to celebrate, I made Crème Eggs. You know the ones – milk chocolate with a super sweet creamy sugary filling inside, a bit of it tinted yellow to look like a yolk? Yep, those! They’re kind of polarizing, I’ve discovered. Some people wait all year for their arrival; others cringe. But to make them yourself? Well that’s just crazy, right? Perhaps. I’ve gotten all kinds of comments on this one. First, there’s the look that says “Why??” as in “Why would you bother?” Then there’s the look of surprise, as in, “You MADE that?” and the delighted giggles that follow. This happens to me a lot and as you can imagine, I much prefer to associate myself with the later group. Afterall, if you’re going to go to the trouble to make molded chocolate Easter eggs, you want someone to appreciate them.
A few weeks ago I was “gifted” with a 5lb box of “Crème Fondant.” My friend said those fatal words: “take it or I’m going to throw it out”. I hate that phrase – gets me every time. God forbid something should get tossed when I can make something wonderful! So of course I took it without the slightest idea of what I was going to do. Back home, I spied a chocolate mold on one of my bookshelves, purchased long ago with some lofty intent. It had been sitting there, hopeful and dusty, waiting for just this moment. Come Easter, I was going to make Crème Eggs!
So this morning, that’s exactly what I did. I cleared the cobwebs from my hazy memories of making molded chocolates and tinted a bit of the fondant egg yolk yellow. I pulled down some beautiful Michel Cluizel 72% chocolate from a top shelf, which I had been saving for such an occasion. I swallowed my apprehension and with a quick check online to refresh my facts, I tempered the chocolate perfectly, surprised at how easily it happened. Half the battle is getting over the fear, I suppose.
I remembered to fill the molds to the top, turn them over and with a sharp rap, tapping out the excess chocolate. Then a swipe of the palette knife over the top to scrap ‘em smooth or the finished chocolates will have “feet”. Into the freezer for just a moment to set, then the white/yellow fondant filling, a slick and a swipe of tempered chocolate to seal off the top and another scrape of the palette knife. Then back into the freezer for a few.
Honestly, I wasn’t sure this would work. Tempering has never been my strong suit. Chocolate skills are directly proportionate to the amount of times spent working with it and I just haven’t done it enough. Funny how when you work for a chocolate company with multiple electronic tempering machines, you let those hand skills go. Happily. But I jumped right in with confidence and pulled it off perfectly. High quality chocolate certainly helped, in fact don’t attempt this with anything less than high quality chocolate.
A quick rap and they popped out perfectly. I was stunned. Why didn’t it work this well in my restaurant days? Probably because I made only eight this time and it didn’t really matter if they turned out. When there’s no pressure, everything turns out perfectly. It’s so annoying. I only had one mold so one batch it was. The shell on one of the eggs was a tad too thin but who cares? I ate it in the name of research. I was happy. Much happier when I stuck two halves together for a whole egg.
I’m not going to give a recipe because in truth, I didn’t really make anything. It was really just melting and reforming. Wow, that really simplifies things, doesn’t it? But for tips on tempering, go here. And for a recipe on something that sounds similar to the crème fondant I used, go here.
STRESS BAKING THERAPY FACTOR: AWESOME BUT WITH RESERVATIONS. I recommend this project with caution. Personally, I got a ridiculous amount of pleasure out of making these, probably because I wasn’t entirely sure they would turn out. As I mentioned, chocolate work isn’t really my thing. It was exactly the type of silly little challenge I most enjoy. A friend saw a picture and told me I need a hobby from my hobby, which made me laugh. They’re not the most difficult things BUT working with chocolate does take some patience, skill and some knowledge. You need to read up before attempting and tempering usually takes a few times to get the hang of it. Lacking all that, supreme confidence will take you a long way and take comfort in knowing that even professionals get it wrong occasionally. And the mistakes are always tasty.