Happy Easter with a red and a chocolate egg!

Christ will rise in our hearts in a while, and until then we are preparing our homes to welcome Him, even though we are staying each at his own house this year… Just like every year, we will crack our red eggs, even if it’s through a smartphone’s or computer’s screen… Therefore, in our Easter article we will talk about red, as well as chocolate eggs, learn their history and symbolisms and we make chocolate egg-truffles with chocolate ganache, biscuits, honey and almond orgeat syrup!

Happy Easter from Eat Dessert First Greece with red and chocolate eggs!
Our chocolate egg-truffles and red eggs we will crack!

In Greece we have the custom of painting red eggs on Holy Thursday. The egg, according to Greek writer Gregorios Xenopoulos, is connected to pagan customs and was a fertility symbol of some goddess of the Ancient Middle Eastern folks. From there it is said to have passed to Greeks and Jews.

God Dionysos with a hen and an egg in hands, around 350 BC, from Tanagra, Boeotia, Greece (source)

For Orthodox Christians red eggs symbolise the sacrifice and blood of Christ. We read various versions of its origin. One of them says that Virgin Mary offered a basket of eggs to her Son’s guards, begging them not to torture Him. When her tears fell on the eggs, the eggs turned red.

Red eggs symbolise Christ’s sacrifice.

Another version relates red eggs to another miracle. When Saint Mary Magdalene informed Roman emperor Tiberius about Christ’s Ressurection and denounced the actions of Pilate, Anna and Caiaphas against Christ, Caesar couldn’t believe in the Resurrection, stating that if some eggs turned red, only then he would believe. Saint Mary Magdalene touched the eggs and they immediately miraculously turned red. Then the emperor confessed that Christ did truly rise and punished the culprits for the Crusifixion.

Saint Mary Magdalene and the red eggs miracle (source)

It is, truly, the colour of joy, like black is the colour of sorrow. Just seeing a red egg is enough to feel something pleasant, that something joyful has come or is close. And it seems to me that this is the one reason this custom has been so much loved, generalised and preserved, no matter which miracle it originated from, which other religion it passed into ours from. It is beautiful and innocent. And it is one of the greatest children’s joys of the year!

Red eggs, Gregorios Xenopoulos (translated by Eat Dessert First Greece (source)

Where did chocolate eggs, which we expected so much as kids, come from though? The first chocolate egg was produced in the 19th century, but it had a long story before becoming a sweet treat! At Cadbury’s website we read that the first Easter eggs offered as gifts were duck or hen eggs, decorated with natural dyes and charcoal. Not all eggs were so cheap though! Elsewhere we found that in a year of the 14th century in the palace of king Edward I of England 459 eggs, boiled and decorated with golden leaves, were given as gifts!

Easter egg found in excavations of an arrogation system of the 15th-16th century in Ukraine (source)

In the 17th and 18th century children’s toys shaped like eggs were manufactured. The Victorians would offer eggs made of cardboard covered in satin, filled with Easter presents and sweets. In the 19th century, according to researcher Mimi Matthews, one could find eggs made of a wide variety of materials, of wood, of satin, hand-painted and decorated with cheap lace, of china or glass, as well as sugar or chocolate.

Russian Easter egg of the 19th century made of china with a Ressurection scene (source)
Cardboard Easter egg of the 1920-1925 period (source)

At the end of the 19th century one of the most impressive eggs was made of wood and when opened one would find a bunch of spring flowers inside. At the time, initially in Germany and later in England and in the USA, children believed that the Easter hare brought the eggs to their baskets on Easter’s eve.

From an Easter card of 1908 (source)
Our vintage Easter eggs made of wood!

If looking for something a bit more luxurious, there are also the Fabergé eggs of the “Imperial” series, a series of 50 Easter eggs made of precious materials created at the end of the 19th and in the beginning of the 20th century by the company of Peter Carl Fabergé for the imperial family of Russia. Those eggs are considered the last commission of artworks at such an expensive price.

The Hen Egg, 1885
White egg shell with a golden yolk inside, which opened and contained a golden hen, which used to hold a replica of the imperial crown with a valuable precious ruby pendant egg within (now lost) (source)
Bay-Tree Egg, 1911
The tree contains 325 nephrite leaves, 110 opalescent white enamel flowers, 25 diamonds, 20 rubies, 53 pearls, 219 rose-cut diamonds and one large rose-cut diamond. It also has a mechanism that when set in motion makes a bird appear, flap its wings, turn its head, open its beak and sing! (source)

In 1873 the British Fry’s company produced the first chocolate eggs in the UK. The first Cadbury’s Easter eggs were launched in 1875. The two companies were later merged. The evolution of Easter eggs in the market was slow, until the technology for making chocolate flow into moulds was found.

Chocolate Easter egg of the Fry’s company (πηγή)

The most important technological advances that made the mass production of chocolate eggs possible are the Dutch invention of a press that separates cocoa butter from the cocoa bean in 1828 and the production of pure cocoa by Cadbury in 1866. The process of separating pure cocoa made large quantities of cocoa butter available, which was the secret for the mass production of moulded chocolate.

Women decorating hollow chocolate eggs with chocolate pipings and marzipan flowers in Cadbury’s factory (source)

The first Cadbury’s chocolate eggs were made of dark chocolate, with a smooth surface, and were filled with almonds. The decorations evolved quickly, by adapting French, German and Dutch Victorian designs. In Germany a surface that resembled crocodile skin was invented, which could disguise imperfections… The first Cadbury’s milk chocolate was launched in 1905, which increased Easter eggs’ sales and contributed to their establishment as seasonal best sellers.

The crocodile finish “hides” imperfections!

It is unknown when did chocolate eggs arrive to Greece. We read that it happened possibly with the opening of large pastry shops at Panepistimiou street in Athens city center at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, when many European habits came to our country, especially to Athens.

Advertisement of one of the old pasty shops at Panepistimiou street that brought European habits to Athens. (source)

Today, contemporary pastry approaches Easter eggs in an experimental way…

Chocolate eggs with polyhedral surfaces by French pastry chef Arnaud Larher, 2019 (source)

Wishing to make our own chocolate eggs we were faced with a problem. We didn’t have egg-shape moulds at home… So, we decided to follow a primitive method and make solid eggs from a chocolate truffles’ mixture, which means truffle-eggs! After all, a solid egg has more delicious chocolate than a hollow, so it’s a win-win situation!

Truffle-eggs with honey and orgeat syrup by Eat Dessert First Greece!

Easter chocolate truffles with honey and orgeat syrup

Ingredients for the chocolate truffles

Chocolate couverture300 gr
Heavy cream (full fat)250 gr
Honey40 gr (2 tbs)
Orgeat syrup (or liqueur)50 gr (2,5 tbs)
Crumbled biscuits100 gr
Coating ingredients
(sprinkles, powdered sugar, cocoa, cinnamon, pearls etc)
Delicious chocolate truffles with five ingredients
Powdered sugar and cinnamon, pearls and white chocolate sprinkles to cover our chocolate truffles!

Method for making chocolate truffles

First, prepare a chocolate ganache. Chop the chocolate couverture so that it melts easily and pour it into a bowl. In a saucepan heat the heavy cream with the honey until it starts to boil, meaning until you see the first bubbles on the cream’s surface. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and cover the bowl with plastic wrap for one minute. Then, stir the mixture with a hand whisk until the ganache is smooth and shiny. Add the orgeat syrup (or liqueur, Amaretto for example) and stir.

Chop the chocolate couverture.
Stir well until your ganache is smooth and shiny.

Finally, add the crumbled biscuits -we processed half a package of biscuits in the blender- and mix well. Pour the mixture into a mould and put it into the refrigerator for several hours to set -we left it for 4 hours.

Τhe mixture is ready when it becomes a soft spread that can be moulded. It is best to wear gloves so that our hands’ temperature doesn’t melt the chocolate. Form eggs for egg-truffles or balls for regular truffles. Finally, coat the truffles in anything you like. We made three versions: powdered sugar and cinnamon, white chocolate sprinkles and blue pearls. Store your chocolate truffles in the refrigerator, but let them at room temperature for a while before enjoying them, so that they obtain a creamy texture.

Use a spoon or a melon baller to make truffles of the same size.
Decorate your truffles with anything you like.
Τhree kinds of egg truffles, with powdered sugar and cinnamon, pearls and white chocolate sprinkles.

We wish you all Happy Easter, health, love and optimism! May we all be with our loved ones next year!

Happy Easter to everyone!

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. vinneve says:

    Oh wow, thanks for the info about easter eggs. I didn’t know before the hype of easter eggs until I migrated here in NZ as where I came from it’s all about Jesus and his sacrifices and the week is called Holy Week. Yes, we can eat sweets though but not of red meat as traditions 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, have an nice day! 🙏🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is all so very lovely! Thank You and Happy Belated Easter!!! 😊

    Like

      1. 🤗🙏🏼😊

        Like

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