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Making Chocolate Easter Eggs with Jean François Houdré
Compliments of FabulousFoods.com

Step 1. Prepare materials and chocolate
Jean François insists that the most important step in making great chocolates is tempering. Unfortunately, it's also one of the trickest techniques to master. We have tempring instructions here at Fabulous Foods from pastry chef Jacques Torres, so if you're going to attempt to make Chocolate Easter Eggs at home, be sure to follow this link for tempering instructions first.

Professionals like Jean François have some nifty gadgets for helping them, like a digital candy thermometer that measures the heat of the chocolate, or the warming lamp that keeps it at the proper temperature once it's been tempered. At home, chef Houdré suggest that you turn on your oven to the lowest temperature possible, keep the door fully open, and keep your tempered chocolate on the warm open oven door. This should hold it at about the proper consistency.


For the colors, Jean François uses either a good quality white chocolate or pure cocoa butter that has been colored with powdered food color. He says you could use pastes, but you have to be sure to avoid any coloring with alcohol because it will cause the chocolate to "seize" or crystallize.




Step 2. Prepare Base and Chocolate Bunnies for Filling
The next step is to prepare a base for the finished egg to stand on, and the tiny chocolate bunnies that will make up the surprise package to be stuffed into the egg later. Jean François uses an ordinary sheet of white acetate to pour the base, because the hardeed chocolate will easily slide off it. A metal pastry ring is used to mold the base, as in the first photo below (you'll see the finished chocolate disk, that is the base, later in this tutorial).

A plastic chocolate mold is used to make the bunnies. The chocolate is simply ladeled into the mold and the excess is then scraped back into the bowl. Now comes the most important technique in making the small molded candies: removing all the air bubbles. Gently tap the bottom of the mold and hold it up to the light and look underneath to insure that you have removed all the air.

The chocolate is then allowed to harden at room temperature until it is ready to be popped out of the mold. If you're in a hurry, you can chill the chocolate to hasten its setting, but letting it harden at room temperature is preferable and insures a better looking final product, says chef Houdré.

Once this step is complete, it's time to mold the eggs.

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