Ovos de Pascoa (Easy Easter Eggs - Goan Style)
A week back, I was talking to my neighbour about exploring Goan Catholic cuisine, especially desserts, when she lent me a couple of her cookbooks so that I could go through them at my leisure. One of the books was a much used thin volume of aboout 60 and odd pages filled with my neighbour’s notes in the margins.
This book, called the Goan Cookbook by Joyce Fernandes, has mostly non-vegetarian recipes but the last lot of recipes were for sweets and desserts with very Portuguese names.
If you know something about Goa, then you might know that being colonised by the Portuguese has left an indelible mark on Goan Catholic cuisine which is a unique blend of Portuguese and Indian flavours. Many of the dishes cooked by Catholics have their origin in Portuguese (or European) cuisine and wherever ingredients were not available locally, substitutions were made giving them a very local or Goan flavour.
As I was going through the desserts, I came across one that for “Ovos de Pascoa” which would translate as Easter Eggs. This recipe was egg-free and called for milk, cocoa, sugar and crushed Marie biscuits! Seeing as this is the week preceding Easter, and this recipe didn’t require much effort, I thought I’d give it a try.
This particular cookbook is over 30 years old and belongs to an era when cookbooks didn’t have photographs while some would have the occasional sketch/ drawing. This one doesn’t even have chapters, just 104 recipes which are numbered so, each with a list of ingredients followed by a barely there set of instructions that assume you have certain basic, some more-than-basic skills in the kitchen, and a lot of common sense!
So I tried to make sense of the recipe and adapted it in a way that was more precise and that would work. Never having eaten these before I’m not too sure what they ought to be like. What I got were fudge-like eggs that hinted at a taste of the Marie biscuits.
If you do not want very fudgy textured eggs, you can break the Marie biscuits into small pieces rather than powde them.
While the original recipe does not call for coating the Ovos de Pascoa with chocolate, I thought they would definitely improve being covered with it and I was right. Once they’re coated in chocolate and the chocolate has set, place the “Eggs” in paper cups or wrap them in coloured foil.
Ovos de Pascoa
(Adapted from Goan Cooking by Joyce Fernandes)
- To crush the Marie biscuits, put them in a ziplock bag and thump them with rolling pin to break them into small pieces. If you powder the Marie biscuits, your “Eggs” will be fudgier in texture. If you want to powder them, run the rolling pin over the bag until all the pieces are powdered.
- Put the milk and sugar in a pan and bring it to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and add the chocolate and stir until it is dissolved completely. Add the remaining ingredients, except the biscuit crumbs and mix well.
- Now add the biscuit crumbs and mix well until you have a dough. Let the mixture cool slightly till it can be handled by hand. Shape into eggs and allow them to dry out. Refrigerate the eggs to set them.
- When ready to coat them with chocolate, take them out. Melt chocolate and add the oil for shine, over a double boiler. Dip the eggs one at time, into the chocolate. Use a spoon to pour the chocolate over the egg to make coating easy.
Lift the egg out of the chocolate with two forks, allowing the excess chocolate to drain off, P the chocolate coated eggs on baking parchment lined sheets to set. Then drizzle some more chocolate over tham and place them in paper cups. Otherwise wrap them in coloured foil. Refrigerate if necessary.
This recipe makes about 20 two inch long eggs.