Help and advice

Making your own Easter eggs

Easter is just around the corner, which means that it’s time to turn our thoughts to some of the delicious treats often associated with the celebration, whether you are religious or not.
However, the over-packaged and often poor-quality offerings available from shops are a common source of disappointment. If you’ve ever had this experience, then you should definitely consider making your own to ensure you get exactly what you want.

If you have children, this can be a great bonding experience, as well as an opportunity to have total control over what goes into their sweet treats.

Here are a few essential techniques and ideas to help you unleash your inner chocolatier.

Tools

Before you get started, you’ll need to gather the necessary tools and ingredients. The most important is your chocolate of choice. Try to buy the best quality you can afford, as this is the biggest determining factor in how your eggs will turn out. You’ll also need plastic moulds, which are available from specialist kitchen suppliers.

While a bain-marie can be very useful, it’s not essential, as you can make do with a glass bowl placed on top of a pan of hot water, providing you have a thermometer on hand to make sure it doesn’t get too hot.

Decorations are optional, but can be a great way to get the kids involved, as they can be stuck on with icing, so there is no risk of burns or scalding.

Tempering

Tempering is a technique that is essential when melting and moulding chocolate, as it ensures the finished product has a professional look and texture. To start, chop the chocolate as finely as possible (use a food processor if you have one), then carefully melt about two-thirds of it in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir carefully and heat until the temperature reaches 50C (120F). Then remove from the stove and stir in the remaining chocolate.

Pour the liquid into the moulds once it has cooled to 35C (95F).

Moulding

Before you start to pour in the chocolate, wipe down the moulds with a bit of kitchen paper, then lightly grease them with a small amount of vegetable oil.

When you’re ready to begin, decide whether you want to make solid or hollow eggs. While the technique for solid eggs is to simply pour and leave to set, hollow eggs are made in two or three thin layers, each of which needs to set for around 20 minutes before the next can be added.

When they are complete, you can stick the egg halves together by briefly heating a baking sheet, then pressing the halves onto it before sticking them together.

Decorations

Here you can use other sweets, icing or anything else that takes your fancy. If you’re finding decorating a bit tricky, you can use egg cups or any suitable pot, bowl or mug that fits your egg to make sure it stays where you want it to.

Now there’s only one easy step to go: eat and enjoy!


© Axonn 2015