24 March 2010

You've Gotta Break a Few Eggs...


What is it they say? To make a cake you have to break a few eggs? It's the same with cookies, sometimes even more so...

I found this idea for making an eggs-tra special Easter treat on a page I tore out of “Family Almanac” a decade ago. I didn’t really end up following the suggested recipe, except in how I baked the eggshell cookies and in using ice cream for the yolks. I tried, but the cookie dough that was suggested slid down the custard cups and the edges lost their definition in baking. I was frustrated and ready to give up. Then I had another idea.

I recently posted about Green Tea Sweets. One of the amazing things about that recipe is that the dough holds its shape so well through baking. I wondered if that dough, without the green tea, would work well for these bowl-shaped eggshell cookies. It was worth a try.

The recipe for this new dough is made with three egg yolks, which set the stage for change number two. The original recipe used whipped cream to represent the white of the cracked egg. Since I had real egg whites left over I decided to try making an egg white shaped meringue instead. I followed a recipe for Meringue Ghosts that I posted about several years ago, simply changing the shape for this new application.

I also had to make a substitution for the lemon sherbet. I would have loved to follow the directions here but I could not find lemon sherbet at any of the local markets I haunt. The closest thing I could find was lemon sorbet and that was a very pale shade of yellow. To achieve the desired outcome I added a touch of yellow food coloring paste and stirred it into the sorbet right when I got it home and it was a little bit soft. That brightened the color of the faux yolk to just the right shade.

I think the improvisation turned out well. I liked the way the dessert looked when assembled and my son agreed it tasted good; similar to a Lemon Meringue Pie but with more contrast in the textures.

I think this makes a fun dessert, one that children might enjoy helping to assemble. I also like the way it speaks to me, the way it celebrates things that have been broken, and yet in being broken offer us opportunities to find joy or salvation. Isn't that the message of Easter?


Broken Egg Desserts

Cookie Dough:

3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
10 Tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
1 3/4 cup flour
3 egg yolks
splash of vanilla
coarse decorator sugar (if desired)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover 4 ovenproof custard cups with aluminum foil and turn upside down on a baking rack set on top of a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside.

Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. At medium speed beat the butter until smooth.

Add the powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.

Add the flour and continue mixing until well combined.

Add the egg yolks mixing just until combined.

Remove the dough from the bowl. Divide it into four equal pieces. Flatten each piece into a disk and refrigerate until firm. (Approximately 30 minutes.)

Roll dough, one piece at a time, into a 1/2 inch thickness on a lightly floured surface. Trim to approximately a 6-inch circle. Sprinkle with colored decorator sugar, if desired, and roll over it lightly with a rolling pin to press the sugar into the dough.

Turn the circle of dough over the bottom of a custard cup. Gently shape the dough around the cup and trim at the bottom edge to create a cracked eggshell effect.



Repeat with each circle of dough. (You may have enough dough left over to make another eggshell after refrigerating and re - rolling, or roll the leftover dough into a 1/2 inch thickness and cut cookie shapes from the remaining scraps to bake on a regular baking sheet.)

Place the pan in the oven and bake the eggshell shaped cookies at 350 degrees for 12 - 15 minutes or until very slightly browned at the edges.

Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Then gently remove the cookies from the foil and let them cool completely on a wire rack.

Meringue Whites

3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl beat together the egg whites and cream of tarter at high speed with an electric mixer until soft peaks form.

Continue to beat adding the sugar slowly, one tablespoon at a time, until the meringue forms stiff peaks and a little of it rubbed between your fingers no longer feels gritty. Beat in vanilla.

Heat oven to 200 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, dabbing a small bit of meringue between the corners of the parchment and the pan to help the parchment lay flat.

Scoop 1/4 to 1/3 cup of meringue onto the parchment paper shaping and swirling the meringue with the back of a spoon to a roughly oval shape approximately 3-4 inch long and 3/4 inch thick, resembling the loose form of an egg white from a cracked egg. Make a depression somewhere in the middle for the yolk to rest.


Place baking sheet with meringues in the preheated oven. Bake until the meringues are set and begin to turn golden, approximately 1 1/2 hours, turning the pan halfway through. Turn the oven off and let the meringues sit in the closed oven for another hour before removing.

Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.

Ice Cream Yolks

1 pint lemon sherbet
or
1 pint lemon sorbet
yellow food coloring, as needed

Check the color of your ice cream. If the color is too pale for the desired effect then set the sorbet out for a few minutes until it softens slightly.

Add a few drops or dabs of food coloring and stir until well combined.

Store the ice cream in the freezer until ready to assemble the dessert.

To Assemble Broken Egg Desserts:

Place one broken eggshell cookie cup on it's side on a dessert plate.

Position one egg white meringue inside the cookie cup, as if flowing out of the shell, and resting on the plate.

Place one scoop of lemon ice cream onto the depression in the meringue.

Serve and Enjoy!

8 comments:

June said...

Great idea Lisa and super pics too!

Alanna Kellogg said...

Very creative!

The original idea was for cookie, with whipped cream and ice cream for the 'yolks'?

Cathy said...

I love this post, Lisa! You are so creative and artistic...what a great idea for Easter.

Lisa said...

June and Cathy - Thanks!

Alanna - Yes. The original recipe was for a broken eggshell shaped cookie dressed with a mound of whipped cream spilling onto the plate like an egg white. A scoop of lemon sherbet was positioned in the middle of the whipped cream as the yolk.

The pictures look much the same but I liked using the meringue because it helped balance the arrangement on the plate, used up my leftover egg whites and seemed to me it would hold up more predictably than the whipped cream. Still, if you are short of time, I think stiffly whipped cream would work fine.

grace said...

outstanding! this is so impressive, lisa. i must say that your idea to make a meringue with the egg whites was really great--it all worked out quite perfectly! bravo. :)

theUngourmet said...

This is so cute! My kids would love it!

Ivy said...

This is just soooo cool!
You just blow my mind at the things you do.Really cutting edge Lisa. :)

the southern hostess said...

These are adorable! So clever.