A few years ago, Gourmet Magazine (RIP – sniff!) posted a recipe for chocolate-filled “blown” chicken eggs – which sounded like a really good idea, except that the volume of a chicken egg is about ¼ cup – and that’s a LOT of chocolate. Of course, we are blessed to live in an area where there are many, many ethnic markets and all kinds of eggs available, so I decided we’d do the same project, but with quail eggs instead – which are not only smaller, but as a bonus are covered with chocolate-colored spots, making mistakes much easier to hide. Quail eggs are often available in natural food stores, or places where you buy sushi-grade fish…but you’ll pay a LOT less if you go to your local Asian market.
Sparky’s buddies, Orville and Wilbur, came over to help us with our egg-stravaganza, which included vegetable-dyed, marbled eggs along with our “Easter bunny eggs.” Using a sturdy pin, I poked a hole in the top and bottom of each quail egg, and widened it out to about the size of a mustard seed – keep in mind, although quail eggs are not discernibly different from chicken eggs on the inside, the shells and membrane are much tougher – one year I had to resort to scissors. Don’t worry if you crush one – unless it’s completely squashed, the membrane will hold it together.
Orville helped me blow the contents of the eggs into a ramekin. Then I carefully rinsed the eggshells and put them in a pot of water with a saucer to weight them down (be careful not to crush them) and heated the water to boiling. (This step is strictly for sanitation; no raw eggs in your chocolate!) After the water came to a boil, I lined the case with paper towels and removed and drained them carefully.
After lunching on scrambled eggs, Wilbur helped tape off the bottom of the dry quail eggs (while Orville did his best coyote-in-the-henhouse impression.)
The original recipe called for straight melted chocolate, but we found this made it tough to crack and remove the eggshells. I decided to fill the eggs with truffle filling (ganache,) so I heated 1 cup of whipping cream in the microwave until the edges were bubbling but before it began to boil – about a minute.Sparky and Wilbur mixed in an entire bag of chocolate chips (if you only have 1 case of quail eggs, you may want to halve this recipe…but we’re going to make bunny poo* with the leftovers.) When this mixture was absolutely silky-smooth, we transferred it to a freezer ziploc bag; pushed out the air and zipped it tightly. I then cut a tiny (this is critical) corner off the bag.
Sparky used the cut corner to pipe chocolate into the top of the now-empty eggshells. (It’s important that the hole be large enough to accommodate both the tip of the bag, and to allow the air to escape.) About half-way through, we stopped to tap the bottom of the eggshell lightly on the table to make sure the chocolate settled in the bottom and get rid of as much air as possible. It may be necessary to microwave your ganache (10-second increments) to make it pour easily.
The eggs were placed in the refrigerator until they were solid, and then all the chocolate was wiped off…see, it doesn’t matter if you’re messy, any spilled chocolate just looks like another speckle! (Caution: since these contain egg, they should be chilled. Also be aware that they are unsafe for people with egg allergies.)
I took some remaining chocolate, melted it, and poured it into a ziploc bag as above, and then filled a sheet of parchment with random squiggles which I tossed on a plate for our bunny “nest.”
Any project that leaves its participants covered in chocolate is a good project, right?