Diary of a Foodie

Virtual Eggs

Diary of a Foodie: Season Two: Trompe l’Oeil: The Art of Culinary Deception

Makes12 “egg” halves
  • Active Time:40 min
  • Start to Finish:5 3/4 hr
February 2008

For “Yolks”

  • 1 medium yellow tomato (about 1/2 lb), peeled and cored
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (from a 1/4-oz package)

For “Whites”

  • 5 1/2 oz lightly salted fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/8-inch dice (about 3/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 teaspoons unflavored gelatin (from two 1/4-oz packages)
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons cold whole milk
  • Equipment:

    an immersion blender or small food processor; 12 demi-sphere molds or refrigerator egg-tray depressions

Make “Yolks:”

  • Cut tomato crosswise in half and squeeze out seeds and juice, then chop. Simmer tomato and cream in a small heavy saucepan over low heat until tomato is very soft (but not brown), about 10 minutes. Stir in Tabasco and sea salt.
  • Purée mixture with immersion blender until smooth. Force through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl. (If you have less than a scant 1/2 cup tomato purée, stir in hot water.) While still warm, whisk in gelatin.
  • Divide tomato mixture among molds (about 2 teaspoons each) and freeze until solid, at least 2 hours and up to 24. When frozen, unmold “yolks” and keep frozen in a sealed bag.

Make “whites” once “yolks” are frozen:

  • Put mozzarella, parmesan, and sea salt in a blender.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over cold milk in a very small saucepan and let soften 1 minute. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring, until gelatin has dissolved, about 1 minute.
  • Pour hot milk mixture over cheese and blend until melted and smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup (you will have about 1 cup).
  • Spoon or pour the “whites” mixture into molds, filling them a little more than half full (about 2 tablespoons each). Add a frozen “yolk,” rounded side down, to each mold and press gently so that flat part of “yolk” is level with top of “white” to resemble a real hard-boiled egg half. Freeze until whites are solid, at least 2 hours and up to 24.
  • Unmold “eggs” and keep frozen in a sealed bag until ready to serve. Thaw “eggs” completely, then halve or quarter lengthwise before serving.
Cooks’ note: Unmolded “yolks” keep frozen 3 days.
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