What, oh what, shall we do with all those eggs?

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

We went with friends recently to a Cajun cultural fair, and we learned about “pocking eggs.”

I had never heard of this Easter custom, but one of our friends with a German heritage had done this as a child. It is known by various names: egg tapping or egg cracking and is done in a number of cultures.

There is even a world championship at the Peterlee Cricket Club in England. Pâque is the French word for Easter, and the Cajuns have anglicized the spelling to “pock.”

The rules vary somewhat but basically two people each take a hard-boiled egg and knock or tap it against their opponent’s. If your egg cracks, you loose. The winner then competes with the winner from another couple, and so on until there is one overall winner.

Some say the small ends of the eggs are to be tapped together. I found online some mother wondering if there was some way to “build” a better egg for pocking? Apparently there is no way to boil or select eggs to be harder but one suggestion was to boil them upright so the air bubble would be at a certain end, therefore making the other end harder. So…if you are seriously competitive, there’s a tip for you.

If you and your children have never done this, I think it would be fun to do after the Easter egg hunt. But you must hard-boil and decorate real eggs. Those plastic or candy-filled ones are not for “pocking.”

At the Cajun fair we cracked and pealed our eggs and ate them. Salt and pepper were provided.

So, what to do with all those hardboiled eggs?

One can use them in Easter bread with sausages. Easter bread is different depending on the country. The Russians have kulich; the Ukranians have paska; the Greeks have tsoureki, and the English have hot cross buns. The Spanish have hornazo.

A great way to celebrate a fasting from meat is to eat lots of it (thus the sausage).

Eggs were looked at as a “sort of meat” since they came from chickens and were not eaten during Lent. They were preserved by hard-boiling them and used in hornazo. Legend has it that this may actually be the beginning of the term “Easter egg,” according to Wikipedia.

I am making this sausage bread today and can’t wait to try it. Even if you cannot find the morcilla sausage (blood sausage), use any sausage of your choosing. I am using choizo, which you should be able to find or just stuff it with any available sausage.


(Sausage and Egg-Stuffed Bread)

Makes 1 loaf

For bread:

1¼ cups warm water

1 package dry yeast

3¼ cups unbleached, all-purpose flour

1½ teaspoons coarse salt

Cornmeal or breadcrumbs for sprinkling

1 egg white for brushing (optional)

For stuffing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ pound bacon, sliced into bits

2 links of morcilla sausage, cut in half crosswise

2 links choizo, cut in half crosswise

2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled

Mix ¼ cup of the warm water with the yeast. While this sits, mix the flour and the salt in a large bowl and then add the softened yeast along with the remaining cup of water.

Mix this with a wooden spoon until it is all combined then turn out on a floured working surface.

The dough at this stage will not hold together well, but as you knead it, it will become perfect. Knead dough for 10 minutes, adding more flour if necessary.

Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil; roll the dough in the oil and cover with a towel. Allow to rise in a dark, draft-free and warm spot for about 3 hours, or until it doubles in size.

While the dough is rising, sauté your bacon first, then save the crispy bits and the rendered fat (this is very important). Next, sauté the other sausages you are using, put the rendered fat in the bacon fat to keep. Allow to cool. Make sure your hard-boiled eggs are cool.

After the three-hour dough resting period, punch down the dough and add a few tablespoons of the rendered fat as well as the bacon pieces. Knead this altogether for a while, adding more flour as necessary.

Shape into a ball once the oil and bacon are all incorporated. Next comes the interesting part. Using a knife, make slits in the dough and push in all the pieces of sausage, as well as the whole eggs, into them. You may need to pinch the dough to create a “seal” around the eggs/sausage. The more filling you have, the better the bread.

Place the dough, pinched side down on a baking tray sprinkled with cornmeal. Flatten the dough slightly and allow to rise for another hour in a dark, warm, draft-free spot. It will double in size.

Place the bread on the top shelf of a 450-degree oven with a pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven, for five minutes. (Optional step: Remove the pan from the oven and mix the egg white with 1 teaspoon of water and brush on the bread.)

Continue to bake the bread for 15 minutes more, or until well browned.

Happy Easter!