Exotic Easter

Cookbook author Kornelia Santoro whips up exotic Easter eggs

Let me wish you a happy Easter. May your holidays be filled with light and love and happy hours spent with your near and dear ones.

Some weeks ago, I had found chocolate beans in a supermarket here in Goa. If you want the address, please email me.

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I had never used chocolate beans before so I was very curious to see what I could do with them. At first, I made some very dark chocolate truffles, dark like sin. At this point, I have to warn you: The dark part of my Easter eggs is only for hard-core chocolate lovers. I enjoy dark chocolate with 70 per cent cocoa, so I am fine with this rich, bitter taste. If you are not so much into the dark side of chocolate, you could replace the cocoa nibs (chopped pieces of cocoa beans) with roasted almonds or any other kind of nuts.

Then I thought it would be nice to have a colour contrast in the eggs. So I mixed white chocolate with dry coconut flakes, which – at least for me – hits the spot. Looking at the combination I had the idea of the title above. Somehow the combination of white and black reminded me of resurrection, but I believed between heaven and hell would not make a better title.

To make the Easter eggs, you need patience and some space in your freezer. You also need Easter egg moulds. I use aluminium moulds that are 7 centimetres long and 5 centimetres wide. The more moulds you have, the faster you can make your eggs.

Easter Eggs between heaven and hell

Ingredients (for 27 Easter eggs)

1.5 kilogram dark chocolate

250 grams cocoa beans

500 grams white chocolate

150 grams desiccated coconut flakes

300 millilitres cream

7 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

100 millilitres espresso coffee

Easter egg moulds

cling film

aluminium foil

Method:

The first task is roasting and shelling the cocoa beans. Place them into a big pan and roast them for about ten minutes over slow fire. They come roasted but they are a lot easier to shell after you roast them one more time. When you hear a slight crackling from the shells, they are done. Let them cool down a bit, then shell the cocoa beans and chop them. This requires quite a bit of patience.

Chop the dark chocolate and place it into a pot together with 5 tablespoons butter and 200 millilitres cream. Insert the pot into a slightly bigger pot, which holds some water. Put this double boiler over a small fire and wait until the chocolate has melted. Stir it well to combine all the ingredients, then add 2 tablespoons vanilla extract and the coffee and stir again. Finally add the chopped cocoa beans and stir again.

Prepare another double boiler like described above for the white chocolate. Chop the white chocolate, place it into the smaller pot and add 100 millilitres cream and 2 tablespoons butter. Put the double boiler over a low fire until the chocolate has melted. Then add 1-tablespoon vanilla extract and the coconut flakes and stir until everything is combined well.

Now prepare the Easter egg moulds. Cut pieces of cling film big enough to cover the inside of the moulds. They need to overhang a bit; the weight of the chocolate will push the cling film into the moulds. Place enough dark chocolate mix into the mould to cover the bottom. Gently push the chocolate down so it takes the shape of the mould. Be careful to leave some space for the white chocolate that comes on top.

Place the moulds in the freezer for about 15 minutes until the dark chocolate has hardened. Then take one half and spread enough white chocolate mix over it to make up the missing space. Place another half on top and press them well together. Place the full egg shape into the freezer again to set; five minutes or so should do the trick.

Finally take out the eggs from the freezer and carefully remove the moulds and the cling film. Wrap the ready eggs into aluminium foil. Continue with this process until you have used up all the chocolate mix. I always make a lot of Easter eggs for family and friends, but it takes quite some time to process the described amount above. If you don’t feel like doing so much, just halve or quarter the amounts given. Enjoy!

When the chocolate splits

When melting chocolate, many things can go wrong. Most likely, at one point or other, you will fight with a mixture that has split. That means, the chocolate does not like the way you treat it and separates into oil and solids. This happened to me quite often and there are several ways of resurrecting a split chocolate mixture.

For me, two methods work quite well. Put the bowl with the split mixture into the fridge for about 15 minutes and take a deep breath. Then take an electric hand mixer and whip the mixture furiously. Many times this helps. If the chocolate still does not yield and holds on to its split form, try to add some extra cream and whip again. So far, I have managed to save every stubborn chocolate mix in one or both of these ways. Good luck!

Kornelia Santoro

Kornelia Santoro

GERMAN WRITER KORNELIA SANTORO follows the cutting edge of food knowledge since teenage years. After completing her education as a certified journalist, she worked for a decade as news editor for radio and political journalist for a newspaper in Bavaria. She also coached young journalists in Poland during a program of the European Union, shortly after the opening of the Iron Curtain. Then she met her Italian husband while riding an Enfield Bullet through India. The couple settled in Goa. After the birth of her son, Kornelia Santoro started writing cookbooks. As a creative spirit she loves to experiment in the kitchen and to explore the human relationship with food in a profound way. Her three cookbooks, Kornelia’s Kitchen – Mediterranean Cooking for India, Kornelia’s Kitchen 2 – Cooking for Allergies and Cooking for Happiness have all won the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for India. She also writes for magazines and websites in India and Europe. Kornelia Santoro believes that “everything is possible and happiness is a moment of bliss.”