Fanny Cradock loves a festivity. None more than the feast following the fast for the faithful, frazzled, dedicated lenters that is Easter. The Easter partwork is a fanfare for the eyes too as Fanny goes into overdrive with the props, staging, colours and teeny tiny fluffy chicks. It's been a long lent of, well, mostly vegetables and eggs so who can blame her for a fabulous facelift of fanciness? Fanny the fashionista even has a springy new hairdo for the season, very froufrou. Incidentally, and somewhat flippantly, she does have huge hands doesn't she?
Fanny puts her feisty new do and mahoosive flapping hands to perfect use in a glorious pic-strip to show us how to 'play together' as we make our own chocolate Easter Eggs. At a fraction of the cost of shop bought naturally. She is sure that any famished youngsters in the house will 'squeal with delight' on Easter Day to receive one of her highly decorated fancily-finished Easter eggs. But first things first, we need to make them... Although Fanny claims these Eggs are easier on the hard-stretched purse than those to be found in the shops, you do need to shell out for a few bits and bobs to get going. Flim flam. The most expensive is possibly the egg mould.
Fanny recommends an array of fiddly old-fashioned metal moulds (both in plain and 'crocodile' pattern) together with the easier-to-work-with modern plastic versions. I have a super-modern polycarbonate mould. Fanny demands that we set about burnishing the moulds ferociously with a little liquid paraffin, which Fanny finds much better than oil. Just a tiny drop, and rub, rub, rub as hard as you can until they are as slippery as glass, and you are fatigued. The eggs will flip out as if shelling peas seemingly. Fanny tries to reassure me that the fractional amount of paraffin would not upset the stomach of the faintest canary, but I'm still a little sceptical. The polycarbonate moulds really don't need it anyway...
Before Fanny can get cross with me, I turn my careful attention to the chocolate chips, or couverture, which must be softened to a creamy consistency without letting them get hot. Fanny does hers in the warming drawer of her oven overnight to avoid a fiasco. I don't have one, so it's the trusty bowl-over-a-pan-of-simmering-water to avoid failure for me. I do hope Fanny would approve of my chips, they are gloriously and most fortunately green and flavoured with sweet garden mint from Guittard. I bought them in San Francisco. They may not *actually* be chocolate. They are described as 'baking chips'. They are definitely confectionary though, not McCains, for those easily confused.
Once the chips are softened, beaten and cooled, Fanny ladles spoonfuls into the burnished moulds and very slowly tips and turns it to cover the surface. When set, she re-coats and 'if you don't mind using a lot of chocolate' Fanny says, do it again. 'The thicker it is, the less tricky it becomes' she tells us, presumably still talking about the chocolate. Once fully cool and set they should just pop-out without fracture. Mine do, despite the lack of paraffin-enabled moulds. Fanny uses a little softened chocolate as glue to 'clap' two halves together before decoration. Just simple for now, we shall deal with more 'glamorous' ideas next time. Together, of course. Inadvertently, the fluffy chicks look a little disappointed.