Kitchen Basics: How To Boil The Proper Eggs For Easter

Saturday, April 23, 2011

I think the biggest crime for Easter is the improperly cooked egg. It's the highlight of the show, the main accent to the table, and if you're Greek Orthodox like me, a matter of competition with the Great Egg Cracking Challenge. But as we've discussed often here on the blog, often the most simplest of foods or dishes are the hardest to execute, and this of course, includes boiled eggs.

You already know how to boil 1 or 2 eggs. But it changes a little when you boil a dozen or more at a time like you would for Easter. The good news is it's still easy. Here we go!

1. Choose a container to boil your eggs in that will fit your eggs evenly but snugly.

You want enough space for the eggs to breathe and fit properly, but you don't want too much space between them. Space will create room for the eggs to bounce around, and this bouncing will cause your eggs to crack in the pot. And you can't dye cracked eggs because it looks ugly. And you can't play with a cracked egg if you're Orthodox because then you're forfeiting.

2.  Cover the eggs 1 inch over with COLD water.

We use cold water so the eggs can cook evenly. It's the same thing like when we cook potatoes for mashed potatoes. If we used warm or hot water thinking they'll cook faster they won't; they'll be raw in the middle or overcooked on the outside. Using cold water lets the eggs cook properly from the inside out in one even shot.

3.  Add 2 tablespoons of white distilled vinegar to the water.

No need to mix it in. The vinegar will help keep the whites of the eggs stay intact in case they do crack, and not compromise the rest of the water.

4. Place on stove top and bring to a boil.

The eggs will cook gently as the water heats up from cold to boil.

5. Once just about to boil, turn heat off and let stand 15 minutes.

This is the most important step for boiling the eggs. You want to turn the heat off just when the water is about to boil. The boiling water creates large bubbles and it's those bubbles that cause the eggs to move about, which encourages cracking as they bounce against the sides and bottom of the pot and each other. To avoid this, simply don't boil them per se! Turn the water completely off and let the eggs sit in that hot bath for 15 minutes to finish cooking. This will give you the perfect boiled eggs to decorate that will also taste good too!

Some Ideas For You To Try...

Most of us, including myself, will be using the Paas kits because they're easy and the kids love it. Great. Fine. Whatever. But here are some ideas in case you were thinking of doing something a little different.

Tea Dyed Eggs
This is really a cool technique. Add 3 tea bags of your favorite tea to the water after you turn the heat off, so during the steeping period. You'll see that not only does the tea give the eggs a beautiful natural coloring, but it will infuse into the egg and give it flavor! Green tea will give a pretty pale green, black teas will give a pale brownish color, raspberry will give you pale pink, etc. If you wanted to do an assortment and had a lot of time on your hands, you could do multiple batches with different teas to achieve colors. Note: kids will not be into this at all and won't care so this is best saved for an adult project!

The Orthodox Red
If you're Orthodox you're probably doing the traditional red eggs. Honestly in my opinion the Greek dye is the best. You know the directions to follow. The only added tip I can give you is to put some vegetable oil or other neutral oil on a paper towel and rub it on all the dyed eggs. This "polish" will make the eggs look so pretty but will also help preserve the color as the oil seeps through the shell. Using a neutral oil like vegetable oil won't alter the taste of the egg either.

Birdie Eggs
I saw once that someone dyed their Easter eggs all shades of naturally occurring bird eggs. They were beautiful blues, greens, and pale browns that were actually quite lovely on the table that was decorated in similar colors. It was very spring  without being quintessential "Easter" with the bunny and fake grass and all of it. If you're looking for a more elegant presentation tomorrow, this would be a lovely way to go: crisp white linens, twig about the table, white pillar candles set in twig nests in the middle like a runner, and these edible eggs nuzzled between flowers, moss, and nests about the table. It was quite lovely.

I hope this helps you with your eggs and maybe even gives you some ideas for trying something new! I'm off now to make my own batch of red eggs as the kiddos and I did our pastels Paas ones Thursday.

Happy Easter everyone!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What kind of "Greek red dye" do you use. I know my mom always used rit dye which is isn't the safest option but does give a beautiful red color. Let me know...