Easter was always a really big deal when we were growing up – the Easter egg hunt all around the farm became legendary. Easter Sunday begins with a giant breakfast of boiled eggs and soldiers (toast cut in strips for dipping) and lots and lots of chocolate Easter eggs. The table is crowded with chocolates in every shape and size – including a giant chocolate rabbit from Rococo. Brian Boylan would arrive from across the river with baskets of goodies purchased in London at the Rococo shop – he and Chantal Coady (the founder of Rococo) are great friends. The distinctive packaging of Rococo chocolates – the white boxes with the deep blue fish, shells and bunnies from chocolate moulds really remind me of Easter at the farm.
So let’s get back to the Rococo praline filled hen’s eggs.
To prepare the eggs
30 quail eggs
18 large, fresh organic eggs
Spring loaded egg topper
Syringe – I used a flavor syringe
1. Using a pin and the syringe make two holes at the top and bottom of the quail’s egg. Make the hole at wide end of the egg slightly larger and insert the pin and break up the yolk inside. Insert the syringe full of air into the top hole and gentle push the air into the egg to push the egg white and yolk out. This has to be done with a mixture of force and gentle persuasion – you want to get the insides out without cracking the egg. (Save the cracked eggs – once they are filled with the praline it’s hard to see that they are cracked.) When all the egg is out insert a syringe full of warm soapy water to wash out the inside. Rinse well by syringing in with warm water and then place eggs on a wire rack. Heat the oven to 250 F and place the blown quails eggs, bottoms down, in the oven to dry out all the water for about 10 minutes.
2. I bought an egg topper.
You can see from my first egg (top left hand corner) that it took an egg to get the technique down. It’s a very tricky gadget – you pull back on the stopper and it hits the egg and the vibrations cut into the shell. Supposedly the top comes away leaving a neat edge – it wasn’t easy. I had to use a sharp knife to prize off the top. Set aside the 18 egg whites and yolks to use in another recipe – omelets, meringues, custard, lemon curd or ice cream all spring to mind. If you want to just make 6 eggs you obviously don’t have to top 18 – but it means you can select the most perfect shells!2. Wash the egg shells and boil them in a large pan for 10 minutes with some blue dye. Dry the shells on a rack and make sure all the membranes on the inside are removed. Select you 6 best egg shells.
To make the praline
250g whole hazelnuts
2 tablespoons baking soda
100g good quality milk chocolate (405 cocoa solids)
30g cocoa butter
200g confectioners sugar
1. Pre-heat the oven to 325 F. De-skin the hazelnuts by placing them in a small pan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and add the baking soda. Boil for 5 minutes then drain (the water will be black) and cool under running water. The skins will rub off. Spread the hazelnuts out on a large baking tray and roast for 10 minutes until golden brown.
3. Place the hazelnuts in the food processor with the confectioners sugar and process until the oils from the nuts releases and it forms a paste. This takes about 10 minutes and requires you to scrape down the bowl as you go. If the machine starts to overheat stop and let it cool down.
4. Add the melted chocolate and cocoa butter to the hazelnut paste and process to combine. Transfer to a bowl and then cool the mixture down to 75 F.
To fill the eggs
1. Using a teaspoon fill the syringe with the praline and insert directly (no need to use the needle) into the larger hole at the base of the quails eggs. Gentle push the praline into the egg until it starts coming out of the top little hole.
2. Chill the filled eggs in the refrigerator. Give as gifts in pretty boxes – I used Didier’s paper shredder to make pretty pink nests using tissue paper. I think he’s been watching too much Argo because he was concerned about me using the paper that was already shredded!
3. Place the rest of the praline in a ziplock sandwich bag, snip the corner and use like a piping bag to fill the hens eggs about 1/2 full. The eggs below are too full – the praline is extremely rich and when I serve this for breakfast on Easter morning I will put much less in each egg shell.
The praline should be room temperature rather than cold from the refrigerator – for that rich creamy consistency. You can quickly heat the egg filled praline if it’s cold from being stored in the refrigerator in the microwave.
This would be great as a dessert – with something salty – In the book Coady suggests crispy bacon dipped in chocolate to dip – I’m going to skip dipping the bacon in chcoolate and simply dip it in the praline.