Bento are Japanese lunches that, among other things, are usually presented beautifully. The art of making food look elegant, even cute, has become something of a competition online. Look around and you’ll find dozens of cute bento ideas and websites. Just look at these cute things! Most of the time, I don’t have the time or reason to make a full bento lunch, and definitely don’t have the energy to make it cute. Still, my years with my crafty mom make me want to play with my food.
The first step to creating adorable molded eggs is to acquire (or make) a mold. I happened to have these two molds that my mom gave me a while back, after she had tried molding eggs. That effort didn’t work very well, so I’ve used the molds for onigiri (rice balls) because I knew that would work. With some extra eggs that needed boiled, it was time to try anew!
I also attempted to mold an egg in a small sauce cup that I had handy to see if I could get interesting shapes from other objects.
Next step: Boil the eggs. I didn’t get it quite right this time (the yolk was soft in the middle, so apparently thirteen minutes of simmering wasn’t quite enough) but the shells came off pretty well. I used this method for boiling them. Everyone has their own favored method, so you can do whatever works for you. (Never mind that I had to look up exactly how to boil an egg…) While the eggs cook, be sure to rotate them, particularly during the first few minutes. This helps center the yolk in the white, making for a better and more stable egg to mold. A little labor-intensive as far as boiled eggs go, but the results will be much better.
After the eggs have been cooked, they should be cooled in an ice bath and peeled. According to Just Bento, it’s fine to cool the eggs before peeling and then reheat them again for molding. No need to peel boiling hot eggs! Just warm the peeled eggs in hot water, dampen the molds so they don’t stick, and squish the egg into place. Let the mold cool in the ice bath again for ten minutes or so to really set the shape. Unmold and enjoy your results!
The egg in the sauce cup didn’t come out great. I tried to squish it into place with my fingers while holding the egg and cup in the ice water. It didn’t work very well, so I do not recommend this method. Get something else, e.g. a rubber band, a pressing plate, etc. to hold the egg in place instead of your fingers. You’ll freeze far less this way and the results will be much better.
The eggs in proper egg molds turned out pretty well! There’s a little flashing around the edges, but that is easily trimmed with a sharp knife. I did find that the eggs did not hold their shape well when put in a plastic bag and returned to the refrigerator, so presentation is definitely time-sensitive (or at least moisture-sensitive).
Molded eggs aren’t something I want to do every day, but it’s cute enough that I’m glad to know how. Clearly I need to host more dinner parties so I can impress my guests with egg flowers.