When I was a kid, my mom and I used eggs that were blown out instead of hard boiled. She liked to go a little overboard with her egg-decorating, and if we were careful enough the blown out eggs could be kept almost indefinitely (I still have a few of them, in fact). Instead of having to play food safety roulette with dishes made from cooked eggs previously used in the heat of a Texas egg hunt, we would empty the egg shells with a little careful cracking and save the contents for other uses, usually cakes, omelets, or scrambled eggs. Two other great uses for both shells and eggs are cascarones and quiches.
Cascarones are confetti-filled eggs that are often found at celebrations on holidays or otherwise, but particularly during the run-up to Lent and Easter. The eggs are either broken on top of or above someone’s head, and it’s considered good luck to be the recipient of this kind of attention, even if it means you’ll be finding confetti in your ears and your socks for hours afterward. It probably goes without saying that this is the kind of fun best had outdoors.
Preparing eggs for cascarones is a little bit easier than blowing out eggs for other, more decorative uses. Instead of trying to create a small hole on either end of the egg, you can carefully crack the egg and remove as much as the top third of the shell. If you tap the egg on the countertop (the side of a bowl won’t do in this case) at its narrowest point, you can peel away the shell until you have a quarter-sized hole. This approach can be messy, but it works.
You may or may not be able to separate the eggs with an opening of that size; if you need separated eggs it’s worth a try, and you can always make a larger opening. The contents of blown eggs can’t usually be separated.
Egg whites and yolks can be frozen (though yolks require some special treatment), so if you have a recipe that calls for separated eggs – yolks for custards, whites for angel food cakes – you can safely store separated eggs for later use.
Here’s my illustrated guide to cascarones:
|Start with a raw egg. You can either blow the egg or crack it carefully so that the bottom two-thirds of the egg remain intact, reserving the contents for cooking (or store for later use). If you blow the egg, you’ll need to enlarge one of the holes before you add the confetti.|
|Wash and dry the cracked egg. I usually rinse them inside and out and place them in a paperboard egg carton to dry.|
|Dye or otherwise decorate the egg if desired and let the decorating medium dry completely. I usually use a paperboard egg carton for this step, too, but if you need to dry them upside down, stick straight pins in the top of a foam egg carton and prop the eggs up that way, or if you have a carton with tall dividers on the inside you should be able to place the eggs atop those dividers to dry.|
|Once the egg is dry, fill it about halfway with confetti. This can be purchased confetti, cut tissue, scraps from projects requiring punched paper, etc. Don’t use glitter, since cascarones are usually broken over or on someone’s head, and getting glitter out of hair – or worse, eyes! – is not the perfect end to a perfect day.|
|Once the egg is filled, lightly coat a square of tissue or newsprint with glue and cover the opening, sealing the confetti inside. You can also apply glue to the broken edge of the egg, leaving the paper dry, but I have found that using slightly watered-down glue to wet the paper is easier for little kids.|
|Let the filled egg dry thoroughly before using. Enjoy!|
This is one of my favorite standby recipes. It doesn’t call for as many eggs as some quiches, but it is also not so rich that you can’t eat more than a tiny slice. I usually make mini quiche (pictured above) for potlucks and lunch boxes, which freeze – assembled but unbaked - quite well.
- 1 box frozen spinach (10 oz.), thawed and drained well, OR 1 cup
coooked, chopped fresh spinach
- 2 cups ricotta
- 1 cup guyere or swiss, grated
- 3 large (not XL, just regular-sized) eggs, beaten til fluffy/frothy
- dash of nutmeg
- pinch of dried thyme
- black pepper to taste (approx 1-2 tsp is good for us)
- salt to taste, approx 1/4-1/2 tsp
- Note: use a bit more, 1/2 tsp, if you expect to refrigerate or freeze, less if you think you’d serve the whole thing, i.e. for a brunch
- 1 medium onion, minced fine and sauteed/browned/caramelized
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- dash paprika
Mix everything together and fill an unbaked pie crust. Bake at 375° for about 45-50 minutes or until set – you may need to put foil or shields over your crust before the quiche finishes baking. If you’d like, before baking you can top with about 1 C sour cream and then shake some paprika on top.