Introduction: Faux "Deviled Eggs"

There's something wonderful about deviled eggs.  The simplicity of the egg white balances the rich, unctuousness of the creamy egg yolk filling.  I always marveled at how a simple hard-boiled egg could be disassembled, then reassembled and transformed into something that tasty. A staple of my family's holidays, picnics, or even just a Tuesday.  Why should they only be limited to appetizers? Why not have them for dessert?

In this dessert version of a deviled egg, we again disassemble and reassemble the humble egg. The egg white is replaced by a crisp, fluffy meringue shell.  The egg yolk filling is mimicked by a rich, buttery Chantilly cream, often found perched atop cocoa puffs throughout Hawaii.  Finally, the accenting twang of the paprika garnish is substituted with a dash of cinnamon.

A cute, simple recipe that will delight the guests of your next gathering (or you could just hoard them like I do. You may not be willing to share these once you're done).

Step 1: Make the "Egg White" - Meringue Shells

For the egg white shell of the faux deviled eggs, prepare a meringue.  These will be piped out into the familiar half egg shape.

Basic Meringue Recipe:

-whites of 2 eggs
-1/8 tsp. salt
-1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
-1/2 cup white granulated sugar
-(optional) 1/8 tsp. non oil-based vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees C.

In a grease free bowl, beat the egg whites until a forth begins to form.  Fats, oils, and egg yolk are the enemy of fluffy meringues, as they will prevent the proteins from forming a strong, sturdy network.  Once frothy, add the salt and cream of tartar.  Though not absolutely essential, the cream of tartar will help to stabilize the meringue (the acidity helps denature the egg proteins, preventing the meringue from shrinking and collapsing in on itself).  Beat the eggs white until soft peaks begin to form (stick the whisk into the mixture, pull it straight up, turn it upside down.  The tips of soft peak egg whites will droop over on itself). Continue whisking while slowly adding the sugar (or you could just dump it all in at one time. I did.) Beat until stiff peaks form (test as before, but stiff peaks will stand straight up. No drooping.) Once you think you have stiff peaks, beat the hell out of it for another minute.  A very stiff meringue will be easier to pipe into egg shapes.  And don't worry about over beating, the sugar will help to stabilize. At this point, feel free to add the flavored extract of your choice. *CAUTION* - oil-based extracts will cause your meringue to collapse.

Scoop your meringue into a Ziploc bag (or a pastry bag with a round tip, if you have one).  Cut the tip off one of the corners of the bag, and begin piping your egg whites onto a pan lined with aluminum foil. To form an egg, squeeze the bag firmly to form the round butt of the egg, and draw the tip back slowly to form the skinnier, pointer part of the egg. Practice. If you mess up, just scrape the meringue up back into the bag and try again.

Slide your egg shaped meringues into the oven and bake until the outside of the meringue is crisp and dry to the touch.  At this point, the insides are still gooey and have the texture of a toasted marshmallow. If you want a crispier, more cookie like meringue, bake for an additional hour.

Remove your finished meringues to a wire rack to cool. Meringues are very susceptible to moisture, so use immediately, or store in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Make the "Egg Yolk" - Chantilly Cream

For the egg yolk, prepare a Chantilly frosting.  These will be piped into the meringue shells, just as you would for a traditional deviled egg. Lots of whisking. Without it, the egg yolks will scramble and leave little yellow chunks in your otherwise smooth and creamy filling.

Chantilly Cream Filling Recipe:

-Yolks of 4 eggs
-1 can evaporated milk (12 fl. oz.)
-1 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
-3/4 cup unsalted butter
-1 tsp. orange extract
-1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pan (or double boiler) over medium high heat, combine the egg yolks and evaporated. Whisk thoroughly.  Slowly incorporate the sugar while whisking to avoid lumps.  Cube the butter into 1/2" cubes and add to the mixture.  Whisk the whole thing until the butter melts. Keep whisking until the mixture begins to simmer (bubbles will appear).  Simmer for approx. 10 min. while whisking.  Allow the mixture the thoroughly cool before adding in flavored extracts (many extracts will turn bitter if added in when the mixture is too hot).  Once cool, transfer to the refrigerator and chill until the consistency becomes frosting-like.  If the filling fails to thicken properly, add a powdered (confectioner's) sugar a few tablespoons at a time to thicken.  Once cool, repeat the Ziploc pastry bag thing, cut off the corner, and get ready to assemble!

Step 3: Assemble the Eggs

You are now ready to assemble and garnish your faux deviled eggs.

Take a meringue shell, turn it over, and press your thumb into the flat surface to create a pocket for the yolk.  Pipe a portion of the chantilly cream into the hole. Garnish with a dash of cinnamon or cocoa powder. Eat immediately (the chantilly cream will slowly start to make the meringue soggy).

With meringue for the egg whites and Chantilly cream for the yolk, the possibilities are endless (or nearly so). Dessert Eggs Benedict anyone? Have fun, be creative, and enjoy!

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