From what I’ve observed, many French people outgrow their religious beliefs and leave them behind along with their childhood. Devout believer or not though, most continue to celebrate with gusto religious rites like baptisms and holidays rooted in the Christian faith. Many of these religious traditions have long been intertwined with France’s history and have thus been tightly woven into the fabric of French culture. So, observance of these religious occasions still persists today more as a remnant of tradition rather than actual belief. But let’s get real, these rites and holidays have survived in spite of dwindling religious beliefs because they give the French an excuse to indulge their hedonistic appetites!
La Fête de Pâques, as Easter is known here in France, is no exception. As one of the most important holidays here, the family meal is naturally a central element of the festivities. Unlike the extravagant Christmas réveillon though, the Easter meal doesn’t last until the wee hours of the morning. Families traditionally gather around an afternoon meal where the main course features a lamb dish, which symbolizes spring, renewal and rebirth. One of the most classic lamb dishes served during the Easter meal is gigot de 7 heures, which is a leg of lamb cooked in wine with an assortment of vegetables and herbs in a dutch oven for 7 hours. We successfully attempted this ambitious dish last year, and I personally loved it. But, I don’t think there will be a repeat as D’s family doesn’t appreciate the gamey flavor of lamb. They prefer instead to stick to their monotonous tradition of egg rolls and phở for every single family get together.
Too much of the same bores me though, so I like to try different things in the kitchen. During this time of year, pastry and chocolate shops adorn their display windows with all sorts of sweetened confections shaped like church bells, bunnies, chickens and eggs. Seeing these goodies all over Paris inspired me to play around with some ideas for cute animal-shaped appetizers to celebrate Easter. What could possibly be cuter than transforming classic deviled Easter eggs into a mother hen and a flock of baby chicks?
I initially tried making these a couple of weeks ago, but they didn’t turn out looking so great. Because I used quail eggs to make the baby chicks, I didn’t have enough yolk to fill a small pastry bag to pipe the filling back into the eggs. Using a spoon to fill the eggs required some dexterity as well as patience, which I had none of that afternoon. I really just wanted to get to the finish line and see the little egg family without going through any of the steps in-between. Frustrated, I ended up eating all but two of the quail eggs before finishing the flock of baby chicks.
After my failed attempt, I took another stab at it this past weekend because I really wanted these deviled egg chicks to actually look like what I had envisioned. This time around, I smartened up and added the yolk of another chicken egg to make sure I had enough filling to pipe. For the filling, I added mayonnaise and Dijon mustard in a 2:1 ratio. As for the beaks, feet and mother hen’s comb, I cut up little pieces of carrot using a sharp knife. I busted out my tweezers so that I could place the beak, feet and the black peppercorn eyes more precisely on the hen and her little chicks.
I was super happy with how the second batch turned out and can’t help but giggle every time I look at these pictures. They’re just so darned cute! This family of deviled Easter egg chicks will no doubt add a bit of glee to your dining table and amuse your guests. Even the pickiest of eaters will have a hard time resisting these little cuties!
Happy Easter & thanks for reading!