A version of this post first appeared on Jennifer Kepka's Open Salon blog.
For those of you with a pile of leftover Cadbury Creme Eggs -- and an appetite for something creative to do with them -- the following story might offer you a bit of inspiration (or might make you recoil in horror). I spent a large part of my weekend experimenting with what must be the ultimate in sinful desserts: Cadbury Creme Eggs Benedict.
The recipe came from Serious Eats and was a joke between my boyfriend and me for a few days, until I became convinced that this had to be tried. So when he set out for Mass on Saturday night, I set out to find myself all of the necessary ingredients:
2 Cadbury Creme Eggs
1 cake doughnut
1 chewy brownie
Seems easy enough, right? I set out for Wal-Mart, which I assumed would be the over-sugared commercial headquarters for a dish that seemed to scream "buy me cheaply!" While there, I made the on-the-fly decision to change the menu slightly. Instead of a chewy brownie replacing the ham, I decided strawberries should enter the picture, because, well, something that existed in nature should touch this dish, right?
So I happily strolled the aisles, picking up a poundcake (made with "real sour cream!" which begs the question: fake sour cream?) and a half-dozen cake doughnuts in the bakery section. The frosting section was a huge disappointment: They had only the cheapest, saddest kinds of canned frosting, maybe six types total (chocolate, more chocolate, whipped chocolate, caramel, rainbow sprinkles and vanilla). I could actually taste how bad canned frosting is as I put the can in my cart. At least they had super cheap sprinkles.
Then, on to find the Cadbury eggs. Except -- there were NO Cadbury eggs. I don't know if you've ever been to a Wal-Mart on the night before any kind of commercial holiday (and, yes, please pause here as I did to consider the fact that Easter has become a commercial holiday), but it's a festival of parental desperation. All of the seasonal sale aisles were packed with moms and dads picking through what remained to find something that would please their kids. I saw at least two fathers holding extremely frustrated telephone conversations while staring blankly at displays full of chocolate. "The pink grass or the green?" one man asked, fingering a bright plastic package full of SpongeBob Fruit Treats ("Great For Easter Baskets!").
Though they had boxes full of other types of candy, not a single Cadbury egg was to be found. The night before Easter should be a book. (Written by Noah Bambach.) After a similarly unsuccessful trip to Target, I stopped at the localish one-stop shop: Fred Meyer. Hidden back in the home and garden section, there were two aisles of seasonal goods. At the very end of the second aisle, I found victory. They were 50 cents each, so I bought six -- just in case I screwed everything up, and also because it seemed like a very proper egg number.
So, ingredients in hand and one hour down, I arrived back in my kitchen around 9 p.m. I gathered my resources, which included everything mentioned plus what I'll call "Plan B," the weird microwaveable just-add-water brownie stuff, which I figured could be used in a pinch if the strawberries seemed off.
I started the recipe as suggested by cubing two slices of poundcake, then toasting them in a non-stick pan. It took exactly three minutes for them to brown up on the edges, during which time the strawberries also defrosted and bubbled over in the microwave. Yay!
I set those aside and turned to my doughnut, which I cut "bagel style" to imitate an English muffin. The strawberries actually seemed like a good ham substitute (is that the first time anyone's ever said that? I hope so), so I was feeling pleased. I also had at least another hour before the boyfriend would be home, and I couldn't bring myself to open the can of vanilla frosting. So, instead, I found a good use for it: holding open the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook to the page that has a recipe for buttercream frosting.
It's not adventure night in my kitchen unless an unholy mess is made, and this frosting was just the thing to help with that. Martha's recipe calls for:
4 egg whites (real eggs, not Cadbury, though that would make a very interesting addition)
1 1/4 cups of sugar
3 sticks of room-temperature butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla.
I halved the recipe and put the eggs and sugar into a metal bowl over simmering water. You're supposed to whisk it constantly while waiting for it to heat to 160. I'm not exactly sure how you're supposed to measure the temperature while you're engaged in whisking, but I did the best I could.
After it reached the Temperature of Safety, I removed it from the heat and beat it for at least 5 minutes on high, "until it's fluffy and cooled," before adding the butter one lump at a time. Then, vanilla. Voilà, super-tasty, very, very bad for you frosting.
It was time to deal with the eggs. So that the insides seem more like real eggs, you're supposed to melt the Cadburys just slightly before applying them. I put them on parchment paper in an oven that was heating (for another purpose) to 375, because I believe that parchment paper means you don't have to wash the pan later. (I also think this about kitchen floor mats and sweeping). After only a minute, the eggs were very melty, and I discovered something: just like regular eggs, if you hold the Cadbury Creme Egg at the top and bottom tips, it won't shatter (though you will get a considerable amount of melted chocolate on your fingers, which will make you start to think this is the Best Idea Ever).
So, the eggs went onto the muffins:
Then came the frosting, and here's the finished product, complete with red sprinkles and Peep overseer:
Now, there's one problem here that I feel CakeSpy/SeriousEats didn't address, which is the unpredictable length of a full-on holiday Catholic Mass. So, by the time my taste-tester arrived (no way was I eating this unsupervised), the eggs had hardened again, which meant no gushing yolks.
That's all right, though, as what we basically learned was that it was better to avoid the sugar-bomb centers of the eggs altogether and instead enjoy the doughnut-buttercream-strawberries combo with a hint of chocolate. It's a little less sinful that way, but it's also less likely to encourage your stomach to make the ultimate sacrifice.