Tuesday, March 24, 2015

White Chocolate Eggs

The age-old affiliation between eggs, bunnies and the religious holiday of Easter will always baffle me. Then again, Santa doesn't make much sense either, but I still love that jolly guy in red. I believe the eggs symbolize new life, but the bunny bit still has me confused. I really can't complain though, the Easter Bunny always delivers for me on the candy front. It does seem, however, that the older I get the less generous the bunny is with candy and the more insistent he is that I get travel-size toiletries, chap stick, and socks. Can never have too much dental floss, I guess... 

Easter is just a couple weeks away and spring has finally sprung. (Well, sorta.The arrival of sunny spring days beckon me outside and away from the kitchen. I absolutely love to bake, but after a winter like this–at least for the Northeast–the last thing I want is to be indoors. I created this dessert as the essential "I'd rather be outside" Easter dessert. It's easy to assemble and absolutely delicious. It's the perfect dessert to finish off a heavy meal, plus the fact that it looks like a giant egg is too darn cute! 

This dessert falls somewhere between a fool and lemon trifle, but since it's served in an edible white chocolate egg, it's so much more. Resting inside the white chocolate "egg" shell lies pound cake, perfectly topped with a sweet whipped cream and a spoonful of tart lemon curd. It's about the cutest thing since the Cadbury Creme Egg–but thankfully not as sweet–and about 5 times the size. Maybe calling them "Ostrich Easter eggs" would be more appropriate. Whatever you decide to call them, they're a huge crowd pleaser. Make all the elements in advance and this dessert really comes together in a pinch. That leaves you with all the time in the world for an outdoorsy egg hunt.

As you can see, there was one casualty. I got a little too excited and snipped the balloon before the chocolate had hardened completely. Patience isn't my finest quality.

White Chocolate "Eggs"
2 (11 oz) bags of white chocolate chips
8 balloons

1. In a microwavable bowl, melt the white chocolate in 30 second increments. Stir after each increment, until chocolate is smooth and melted. 

2. Inflate balloons to about 4-inch diameter, then knot. Wipe balloons with a damp paper towel to make sure they're nice and clean. Hold balloons by the knot and dip into chocolate, rotating to ensure plenty of chocolate coverage. Place balloon, knotted side up, on parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining balloons to make 8 cups, then set aside to harden. 

3. Use scissors to snip a hole in each balloon. Once balloon is deflated, carefully peel away from chocolate. Set "eggs" aside until assembly. 

Lemon Curd "Yolks"
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed


1. In a saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the egg yolks and sugar and whisk until incorporated.

2. Add in the lemon zest and juice, stirring constantly until thickened, or about 8 minutes.

3. Strain the mixture into a clean bowl. Then stir in the cubes of butter until completely melted. (Don't skip this step! Straining the curd is essential.)

4. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled.

The Greek yogurt thickens the whipped cream, making it rich and creamy.

Whipped Cream "Egg Whites"
1 pint (16 oz.) cold heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt

1. Beat the cream and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Start on medium so the cream doesn’t splatter, then increase the speed to high once the mixture starts to thicken. 

2. Beat until stiff peaks form, then fold in the Greek yogurt until fully incorporated. Cover and keep in the refrigerator until assembly.

Normally, I'm not one to cut corners, but store bought pound cake is just about one of the greatest inventions of all time. It saves so much time and-assuming you buy a good brand-is actually really tasty. Or, you can always bake it in advance and freeze it for later. 

To Assemble:
1. Cut a pound cake loaf into 1-inch cubes. Place 4-5 cubes in each white chocolate "egg", then top with a few generous spoonfuls of whipped cream. 

2. Place a spoonful of lemon curd on top so it resembles an egg yolk. 

Keep any leftovers refrigerated. 

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