Thursday, March 29, 2007
Waiter, There's something in my .... Easter Basket!
I know it is not good to take advantage of the misfortune of others but since the host of the WTISIM... Easter Basket! event is taking advantage of her children's illness to extend the deadline over at the Passionate Cook, I was inspired to take advantage to share a recipe I was already planning on posting. This is a family recipe for coconut cream Easter eggs that came from my mother-in-law, Virginia. When I was newly married she showed me how to make these, and over the years I think I am the last child or in-law to still make them. I usually make a huge batch because I give them to friends, family and coworkers. When my mother-in-law made them she would make the cream and knead it for 15 minute every night for a week to get the creamy coconut flavor, but now, with mixers with dough hooks you can make short work of the kneading and still have a rich and creamy outcome. This recipe makes about 8 large multi-serving eggs an about 30 2-inch "bite-size" eggs. You could easily cut this recipe in half, if you like. I know a lot of people buy their eggs from church groups, but at least once you should try making them yourself.... they put the commercial ones to shame. I have always wanted to color part of the fondant yellow to make "yolks" in my eggs, but I am either in a hurry or forget until the eggs are formed. I dip mine in a mixture of bittersweet chocolate and paraffin which make the chocolate easier to handle and the finished product smooth and shiny. You could use semisweet, but I prefer the darker chocolate as a counter to the sweet richness of the coconut cream. Believe me, once you try these you will want the waiter to leave these in your Easter basket!
Dowd Family Coconut Cream Eggs
2 sticks butter softened
1/2 15 ounce can of cream of coconut
10 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 tablespoon coconut extract
1 1/2 14 ounce bags of flaked coconut
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1/2 of one sheet of paraffin (used for canning)
Begin with mixer using mixing blade to cream butter, cream of coconut and coconut extract. Add sugar 2 cups at a time, mixing after each addition. Once you have mixed in all ten cups of sugar, the mixture should look a lot like bread dough(it should pull cleanly away fro the sides of the bowl and form large ball) Take off blade and mix coconut in by hand. Then, using dough hook attachment,knead fondant until it is smooth, shiny and doesn't stick to your hands. If you don't have a mixer with dough hook attachment you can knead by hand for 3 10-minute periods (great for pecs and upper arms!- if you can do all 30 minutes at one time you should be on a body-building blog!).
Once the fondant is ready you can form the eggs. The larger size are great for giving, and these eggs freeze very well and so can be frozen and eaten a bit at a time (several of our friends and neighbors would eat theirs slice by slice). Line a cookie sheet with either waxed paper or parchment and once all eggs are formed, place eggs in freezer to firm. You will know you have done a great job if, when you are done this part, your kitchen and the front of your clothes or apron are covered with powdered sugar!
The final step is to dip the eggs in chocolate . Melt the chocolate and paraffin together in a pan over boiling water (my kitchen equipment doesn't include a double boiler!). Do not leave this mixture unattended! Once the chocolate and paraffin are melted and mixed together, take the eggs from the freezer for dipping. You will need a couple of cold cookie sheets with parchment for this process, which is the most time-consuming (for me, at least!) I use a two-prong meat fork and stick it into the side of the eggs , dipping them, and then placing them on the sheet, using the back of a spoon to remove the fork, then quickly use a little melted chocolate to cover the fork holes. Those of you who are more experienced candy-makers may have a better and prettier technique (and if you do, please share it!) The smaller eggs are a lot quicker and easier . Once all are dipped, set in freezer again until chocolate is set. If you like you can use frosting and personalize eggs, drizzle with white chocolate, whatever suits you. The eggs then need to be refrigerated until ready to eat. They are best if you take them out an hour before you want to eat them to allow them to come to room temperature.
So thanks to Passionate Cook for this great event (and thank her for the extra pounds you see on your scale and the temporary spike in your cholesterol!- but hey, Easter is only once a year!)