Sunday, 28 November 2010

E is for... Earl Grey eggs

Earl Grey eggs

To serve alongside the espresso mousses, I decided to make a dish that my guests would assume were boiled eggs - effectively ending the meal with what looked like breakfast. I'm not sure why, but I enjoyed the silliness of it all. I was inspired by an Easter gift from Richard of praline truffle filled hens eggs from Rococo. The instructions on the egg box required me to blast them in the microwave for a couple of minutes, but we don't have a microwave. I decided to roll the eggs on the table top to break their shells, just like with hard boiled eggs. It worked! It was fiddly and time-consuming but the filling was so delicious, it was well worth the effort. I took the rest of the eggs to my mum and dad's house, because they do have a microwave, and zapped the eggs as instructed. The molten filling was fabulous as a topping for ice-cream or to dunk biscuits in, but I still found it all a bit of a palava.

I wanted to fill hollowed-out eggs with a soft-set Earl Grey infused white chocolate ganache that I could serve in egg cups, so that my guests could crack them with the back of a spoon, slice their tops off and spoon out the contents. It worked really well, although I must admit that I hadn't properly appreciated how time-consuming hollowing out the eggs would be. Initially I tried using a needle, but after I managed to snap one in half while simultaneously crushing the egg I was trying to hollow in my hand, I decided an implement with a bit more sturdiness was in order. I found that a cake tester was just the ticket. I scratched at a point on the centre of the base of each egg until a small hole was made. Using the tester, I made the hole bigger until it was the size of a 0.5cm circle. I wiggled the cake tester inside each egg until their insides spilled out. Once empty, I rinsed the eggs under running water, squeazed a tiny amount of washing up liquid inside each, filled them halfway with water and gave them a shake before rinsing them out again and leaving them to drain, hole-side down.

Earl Grey ganache

While they were drying, I made the ganache. When making ganache it's easiest to think metrically - 100g of chopped chocolate to every 100ml cream.  I infused 300ml of double cream with 2 tbsp of loose-leaf Earl Grey tea. I used such a large amount of tea for two reasons. Firstly, so the ganache would have a strong, aromatic flavour, but also so there would be enough oil in the tea to prevent the ganache from setting completely. While the cream and tea were infusing over a gentle heat, I chopped 300g of good quality white chocolate - I used Green and Black's. I then placed it in a heatproof bowl and waited for the cream to come to near boiling point. Turn the heat off and leave the cream for 1 minute before pouring through a sieve over the chopped chocolate. Mix it together until all the chocolate has melted and you are left with a thick, glossy ganache. Pour the ganache into a piping bag or into a plastic sandwich bag. Place the clean, dry eggs hole-side up in an egg box, snip the end of the piping/ sandwich bag off and carefully fill each egg almost to the top. Allow the ganache to cool before placing the egg box in the fridge. When you're ready to serve the eggs, place them hole-side down in an egg cup. The ganache should have set just enough not to drip out of the hole, but should still be soft, ready for your guests to crack open and spoon out.

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