Creme Eggs, disgustingly nice and sickly sweet - Easter wouldn't be right without them! Shall we make our own creme eggs at home, just like Cadbury's only better?
The amount of sugar one Cadbury Creme Egg contains is truly terrifying; thankfully Easter only comes round once a year. I can smugly say a whole full-size Cadbury Egg defeats me so I only ever go for the mini ones. Okay – three at a time…
Making them at home sadly won’t reduce the sugar content much but it sure will be more fun for the little ones than going to the supermarket. Isn’t it a Good Way of spending Good Friday?
Creme egg filling, white and yolk
Starting with the filling, yeah, you guessed: it is basically icing sugar mixed with some butter but I got the idea of adding corn syrup for extra gooeyness from Instructables. As it's mainly sugar, it will keep for a long time and there's no need to store the eggs in the fridge.
Melting chocolate is no rocket science but it does look pleasing if it is shiny and glossy rather than dull. The secret to achieve that is tempering. And although it sounds like a seriously challenging industrial process, it is easy.
What is tempering chocolate about?
Tempering chocolate means melting it with heat and then adding some more solid chocolate to cool the whole thing down. The melting process is completed by stirring at room temperature.
A simple variation of that is melting chocolate with heat only partly, so that some solids remain and proceed as above. Either way, surprisingly, the liquid chocolate ready to work with and well-tempered will be not warmer than 30-33C. NB: that's for milk and dark chocolate, white is tempered at 28-29C.
Tempering chocolate: the proper way
Accordingly, the way to achieve that is by placing a bowl with about three-quarters of the whole amount of chocolate you need to melt, over a pan with barely simmering water so the bowl is not touching the water (contraption known as bain-marie).
Let the chocolate melt organically in the bowl without stirring. When almost all of it melts, take the bowl off the heat, add the remaining quarter and stir with a spoon for about 5 minutes, until smooth and cooled down to 30-33C; barely more than body temperature. Chocolate tempered like that needs to be used immediately.
Professional chocolatiers use a three-step process actually: as described but cooling the mix down another two or three degrees, to next warm it up gently again by those 2 or 3 degrees on bain-marie. I find the two steps work well enough for fancy truffles, and for creme eggs I'd actually recommend the quick hack, as follows.
Tempering chocolate: the easy way
The simpler variation calls simply for a microwave. This time the whole quantity of chocolate is in a non-metallic bowl, microwaved in bursts of 15-20 seconds at full power, to be stopped and stirred after each burst. When only a few small chunks remain solid, stir it until smooth and wholly dissolved.
All creme eggs in one basket!
The process of coating the egg moulds needs to be done in layers, chilling the mould in the fridge for ten minutes or so after each layer. The filling is easy but the tricky part is how to stick the halves together without melting the chocolate through touching and pressing.
Painting a thin layer of liquid chocolate with a small brush around the edge is one method, dipping a knife in boiling water to soften edges and stick them together is another. And when you get tired of the fiddly stuff, simply make some solid eggs or halves, decorated with sprinkles. Happy Easter!