Easter Herb Nests

As a child I was always looking forward to Easter because I loved dying Easter eggs. In retrospect it always seemed like so much work, what with the many different jars you need for each colour, cooking the eggs, the time it would take for them to take on the colour… Maybe that’s the reason I have never before felt the urge to colour eggs as an adult.

This year, however, I saw these lovely eggs dyed pastel with some white stripes in a magazine and decided to try it. Which then reminded me of another one of my hundreds of collected recipes from Living at Home magazine that featured Easter eggs. So I decided to combine these two endeavours to make these Easter Herb Nests and use the pastel Easter eggs as their centerpieces. These little nests make for a lovely edible decoration for your Easter breakfast or brunch table. They’re savoury and go quite well with cream cheese or cheese based spreads.

To dye the eggs, I used liquid colouring that you use with cold water and some vinegar. The white stripes you get by wrapping two rubber bands around each egg before dying it. The ones in the magazine were perfect, of course, whereas the white lines on my Easter eggs turned out blurry. Another really ugly thing is that German eggs carry a red stamp telling you where they originate from, and the red colour from those stamps got mixed into the pastel dye. Luckily you can’t see that in the pics.

Easter Herb Nests

250 g flour
21 g baking powder
3 tbsp chives, chopped
300 g low-fat quark (curd cheese)
7 tbsp olive oil
11 eggs (medium)

Combine flour, baking powder, chives and 2½ salt in a mixing bowl. Add quark, 6 tbsp oil, 2 eggs and 1 egg white (put yolk aside for later). Knead to make smooth dough with the hook attachment of a mixer.

Shape dough into a 30 cm long roll and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces. Halve each piece and shape into 2 rolls of 25 cm length. Twist the two rolls together to form a wreath. Proceed the same way with the remaining dough, then place all wreaths on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Mix the egg yolk that you put aside earlier with 1 tbsp water and use to coat the wreaths.

Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F (160°C fan / 320°F). Prick bottom of remaining 8 eggs. Take 1 tbsp of oil and rub the eggs with it. Place one in the  middle of each wreath (pricked bottom facing downwards). Place in preheated oven and bake on the 2nd shelf from the bottom for 30 minutes.

Three things I’d like to mention:
1. Reading the recipe I was wondering how an egg cooked in the oven would turn out. For one thing they were too hard for my taste, because personally, I prefer my eggs not to have a hard dry yolk, on the other hand these eggs are probably also nice just as decoration.
2. Some of the eggs cracked during baking, and the bits exposed and not properly covered by the shell turned out to be a little rubbery in consistency.
3. As I coloured the eggs before baking (which is not part of the original recipe) and they were covered in a little olive oil, the colour seeped onto the surface of the dough a little. However, as it’s food colouring it isn’t harmful.