On Wednesday, my friend Anna came over for our annual Easter egg day, where we make Easter eggs together. You can’t buy fair trade Easter eggs in New Zealand (except for expensive artisanal ones - even the boring hollow Cadbury eggs don’t seem to be on sale this year). We want Easter eggs to eat and give away, but not at the expense of people being enslaved and abused to produce the cocoa, so, for some years now, we’ve made our own :-)
We’ve been doing great marshmallow Easter eggs for some years now, but this year I think we’ve finally nailed how to make creme eggs!
Classic vanilla creme eggs:
Peppermint creme eggs - for variety and to share with vegan friends:
If you’d like to make some yourself, here is our recipe. There are photos of various parts of the process after the written recipe. It’s a bit time-consuming, but none of it is hard. You’ll need chocolate egg moulds, a sugar/meat thermometer and a good beater for best results, but none of those are strictly necessary.
This makes 16 peppermint creme eggs and 32 vanilla creme eggs using these moulds (which have cavities about 3cm across, 4cm long and 1cm deep and are hard plastic - silicone moulds don’t work well for filled eggs). The eggs come out about 2/3 the size/weight of commercial creme eggs. If you don’t have moulds, you can make creme eggs on sticks (see end of recipe) but they won’t look as good.
If you only want to make classic vanilla creme eggs (or only want peppermint ones), all you need to do is alter the flavouring/colouring as appropriate: the filling for both is essentially the same.
\ Sometimes it doesn’t stiffen and I don’t know why. However, if you’ve beaten it well and it’s still only cloudy, transfer it to a microwave-safe container and leave overnight. In the morning it might be fine, in which case proceed as usual, or it might have a stiff crust on it. If it has a crust, break it up a little then microwave until it’s a bit warm (30 sec on high). Knead with your fingers until all the crusty bits are gone and it’s all smooth then return to step 5 and proceed as usual.*
(Do this no more than 4 days before you’re going to assemble the creme eggs. You will be adding invertase to your fondant in this step: it’s an enzyme that makes the fondant liquify and if you leave the centres too long after adding it they will be too liquid to work with.)
Note: If you leave the vanilla centres in the freezer divided but unassembled for more than a day or so then cover them tightly with a plastic bag: otherwise they’ll dry out too much to ever become runny.
When you remove the completed eggs from freezer, check the seals are good and touch up if necessary, then store at room temperature.
Assemble the vanilla eggs the same way, except that you start with 32 half egg-shells rather than 16.
Leave eggs at room temperature at least two days before eating - the invertase takes a wee while to work. In cold weather it could take a week.
Gives 16 peppermint creme eggs and 32 vanilla creme eggs.
Dividing, flavouring and colouring the fondant
Fondant divided 2:1. The portion on the right will become the peppermint centres, that on the left the vanilla centres.
Peppermint fondant. I’d prefer a paler green, but this is the colour I get with a single drop of food colouring.
The vanilla food colouring, flavoured, divided and coloured.
Forming the centres
The fondant is quite stiff when it comes out of the freezer.
32 little yellow pieces.
32 little white pieces
Some assembled vanilla centres with the peppermint centres
Centres stored overnight in the freezer. The upper tray is held up with small cups.
The smaller centres shouldn’t be stored in the freezer too long - they have a high surface area and dry out quickly. Once that happens they never become runny.
A runny centre - stored in a biggish lump in the freezer for four days.
A non-runny centre - stored in the freezer only two days, but as a flat disc with lots of surface area.
Forming the half egg shells
Moulds filled with first coat of milk chocolate
Joining up the eggs - method 1
Two egg-shell halves, one with a peppermint centre and one empty.
Molten chocolate smeared on the rim of the empty egg-shell half.
Joined-up eggs, ready to be checked for leaks
Joining up the eggs - method 2
Half-egg with its second coat of chocolate just applied.
Peppermint centre added, another half put on top and egg sealed.
Assembling creme eggs without moulds
Eggs in vases and small cups, ready to be set in freezer.
Eggs after the skewers have been removed.
Completed creme eggs - still yummy, but pretty rough looking!
I used a number of sources for this recipe, as well as a lot of trial and error. Websites that were particularly helpful are: