Easter - a time of religious traditions and rituals, balanced with - or replaced by - Easter bunnies and chocolate and egg hunts. It's one of many cultural celebrations heralding the progression from Winter to Spring and it's hard to imagine anyone who bemoans this seasonal transition.
Easter is late this year, so you still have time to consider adding deviled eggs to your menu - especially if you plan to have an Easter ham. I must admit that deviled eggs do not routinely appear on my Easter table - yet they always appear on Xmas morning. They look and taste delicious, are not that hard to make, and can be partially prepared the day before.
Even Wikipedia mentions that they are served most often at parties or holidays. Why don't we make them more often? Some years ago they became trendy in restaurants, though that seems to have faded a bit. [Update: it's 2017 and both The Star and The Globe have featured Deviled Eggs as the "it" thing to make this Easter!!]
No doubt there have been many variations in it's popularity since "stuffed eggs" were first mentioned in cookbooks in the 15th century in Europe and mid 19th century in North America [Source]. The term "deviled" was attached to them when they were seasoned with hot spices.
I can't recall when I first had some - it could have been in Hungary where they are called kaszinótojás (casino eggs) - such a cool name! [Source]
When my daughter-in-law (KBK) became part of our lives and I discovered she was fond of deviled eggs I began to make them - food as a gift of love. One day, mysteriously, a deviled egg platter (that I must have received as a wedding shower gift) revealed itself in a cluttered cupboard – and since then I have used it countless times.
Hard boil eggs. Mash and flavour yolks. How complicated can that be?
Well... there are a few tips if you want the eggs to be hard cooked perfectly, with no green/grey tint around the yolk, and no eggs that crack while cooking - leaving a misshapen egg white inside. You're also going to hope that you can easily peel the eggs so that they remain nicely intact, waiting to be sliced in half. Are you surprised if I tell you there are tons of varying ideas on how to best achieve all that? Here are some considerations:
- the eggs - they can be right from the fridge
- the pan - assuming you're cooking 6-12 eggs, use a large pan - they need room and should not be crowded; you'll need a cover for the pot; if you adopt the ATK method, you'll also need a steamer basket
- the water temp - there's some (not total) consensus that the eggs should be placed in cool water and then slowly bring both the water and eggs to a gentle boil
- how much water - again, most sources say the water should be covering the eggs by about an inch
- salt? vinegar? - apparently adding either or both to the water makes no difference to whether the eggs crack
- boil - then what? on/off heat? - some sources say to place the cover on the pot and remove it from the heat source right away (see @kitchn)
- how long? - let the eggs sit in that covered pan for 10 minutes
- ice bath - YES! they all insist that is necessary to stop the cooking process
- cracking - most people crack an egg on it's side first; I find if I crack it first on each end, then give it a wee roll on the counter, then the shells come off nicely
Here are some unique (but differing techniques) all from experts:
- Jacques Pépin - he says to lower the eggs into boiling water (using a spider is ideal) and cook them at a gentle boil for 10 minutes; drain and cover the eggs with ice water, or transfer them to a bowl with ice water. I have used his method and it (mostly works). In truth it seems to work best when I run the cold eggs under tap water at first just to warm them up a tiny bit before hitting the boiling water. He actually suggests pricking each with a wee hole first - seriously!? - I'm not going to do that.
- America's Test Kitchen - As you may know, ATK spends hours and often gobs of money working with cooking science principles to perfect techniques. Their idea blows up some assumptions. They suggest using a wide pan or even a sauce pan, and bringing 1" of water (yes - one inch) to a rolling boil. Place the eggs into a steamer basket, ready to be transferred to the pan once the water is boiling. Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the pan and cook eggs for 13 minutes. Then transfer to an ice bath for 15 minutes. This truly does work. (BTW, ATK has a similarly unique technique for cooking soft-boiled eggs - arrived at through testing that used up 1000 eggs. It's nicely described by Savory Simple.
- @kitchn offers more hard cooked eggs tips. I'm not so sure about the one that refers to using old, not new, eggs(!?) but maybe you did not even know how you tell the age of your eggs. In addition to a "sell by" date there is also a number between 1-365 telling you what day of the year it was packed on. Check out these two blog posts - one, two.
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 tsp dry ground mustard
1 tsp white vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper (black or white)
1 tsp creamed horseradish
paprika for garnish
After experimentation, here's my recipe. I like that it does not use too much mayo - and I love the flavour from the mustard and horseradish.
Stating the obvious, cut the eggs in half and mash the yolks with these ingredeints. This can be scopped back into the egg whites - I usuall pipe it in with a little cake decorating gadget.
The sprinkling of paprika is a nice Hungarian touch. Enjoy!
Notes and Tips...
- Horseradish - I prefer to use a creamed horseradish and like the Horrlein brand.
- Make Ahead - I mentioned that I often serve this on Xmas morning. No time for the whole thing. I cook the eggs the day before and (when cooled) cut them in half. I prep the egg yolk mixture (and refrigerate). I place the egg whites, cut side down, onto 1-2 paper towels in a container with a lid. I put one or two paper towels between each layer of egg whites. Curiously, by next morning the paper towels are all moist so the egg whites clearly "weep" over night, but they remain nice and dry and ready for me to stuff the next morning. That little task takes no time.
- Variations - Google "deviled eggs" and you'll get over 5 million results, and that equals a lot of variations. Even those in my own recipe file suggest these variations: 2 tsp dijon or yellow mustard in place of powdered, 1 TB finely minced shallot, 2 tsp minced sweet pickle, splash of tobasco; garnish with chives, parsley, pimento
- More variations - the young 'uns have gone super creative. Check out "28 Over The Top Deviled Egg Recipes" and I Am A Food Blog.
- For KB Recipe Attribution Practices please click here.
<== Questions or Comments about this recipe? Visit the Recipe Q. C. page - looking forward to hearing from you!