Creating artisan Easter Eggs by traditional methods is a time-consuming and skilful business, and there is little point in doing it if you don’t use the very best chocolate. At Iain Burnett Highland Chocolatier we use the same carefully selected cocoa used in our Florentines and gourmet chocolate bars and we temper it to perfection it in exactly the same way.
The eggs are made in moulds, just two halves at a time. The basic method is to “dose” each mould with the desired weight of liquid chocolate. Then, in moves which have been likened to those of Tai Chi, the molten chocolate is slowly and gently swirled around until it is evenly distributed. Too thin and the egg will be fragile, too thick and the eating experience is spoiled. We have all experienced over-thick chocolate that has to be fought into submission!
The swirling motion can only cease when the chocolate is firm enough to hold its shape – think about drips running down a newly painted surface. We must then wait for the chocolate egg to set fully before it can be released. Deposits of cocoa butter in the mould ensure that the chocolate does not stick and surprisingly intricate patterns can be transferred to the chocolate surface.
Decorating Handmade Easter Eggs
A number of different artisan chocolate techniques are used to enhance the gourmet Easter Eggs. Each has to be trialled and perfected, and the chocolatiers trained and practiced before going into production. You will notice than no two of Iain Burnett’s handmade chocolate eggs are exactly the same. That is because each one is made individually and the style of the various chocolatiers will vary slightly. It’s a bit like a signature and this uniqueness makes giving a handmade Easter egg extra special.
Drizzle Gourmet Easter Eggs are made by piping contrasting chocolate into the mould in a curvy pattern. The chocolate must be allowed to set fully before the mould is dosed with the main chocolate flavour. A more dramatic effect is achieved by slashing a completed egg with contrasting chocolate. This calls for confident sweeps to create the deep sculpted effect.
To add texture as well as visual appeal, crisp eggs are arranged in the mould, before chocolate is carefully applied to hold them in place. Once secure, the cluster is surrounded by a “dose” of chocolate which is evenly distributed round the mould as before. Imagine how tricky this is to achieve perfectly! For more sophisticated palates Crystallised Chinese Ginger can be used instead.
Expertly tempered chocolate Easter eggs are shiny already and can be enhanced further with a dusting of food powder. This is the technique used to make our cute little Chocolate Easter Chicks stand out from the brood.
New This Year
The latest Easter eggs reflect our most popular flavours of chocolate bar – 70% Dark São Tomé Chocolate with Raspberry Easter Egg and Caramel-noted Milk Chocolate with Sea Salted Toffee. This involved yet another technique which was developed this year. Can you guess how they were decorated?