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Chat Leftovers: The yolk's on you

Ah, we meet again. Another Wednesday, another Free Range chat day, so get your culinary questions ready and plan to be right here at 1. You will definitely come away enlightened, and who knows? You might also come away with a cookbook prize.

It's always a lively hour, but alas, it's only an hour, and we always run out of time. Here's a question we didn't have time to answer during last week's chat.

After making gobs of Swiss buttercream frosting for a wedding cake, I’m stuck with 18 leftover egg yolks. I’m planning to make lemon curd with some (probably 6), but what can I do with the rest? Something that will keep for a bit would be great.
Please don’t say ice cream. It was my first thought, too. But I don’t have an ice cream maker, or room to store one.

It's surprising how often this question comes up in the chat. I guess that's because sooner or later, all of us find ourselves staring down a couple of spare egg yolks, not sure what to do about them but not wanting to throw them out.

It's too late to help the chatter who asked the question, but what I've decided to do is to write the Mother of All Egg Yolk Answers. That way, the next time someone asks this question -- and for sure, there will be a next time -- we can link to this blog. And by that time, maybe some of you will have added your own suggestions to the end of this post.

How do I know it's too late to help the chatter? Well, unless those yolks from the Swiss buttercream have been frozen, I can pretty much guarantee that they're history. As I found out recently when I had 19 (it's a long story) extra yolks in my fridge, they don't last more than a couple of days, even if you follow the American Egg Board's advice to put the whole yolks in an airtight container, cover them with water, seal and refrigerate. They can be frozen, but the texture tends to deteriorate a little. For best results, for every cup of yolks, add 1/2 teaspoon salt or 1 1/2 tablespoons corn syrup (depending on whether you plan to use them in savory or sweet dishes); strain and separate into 1-tablespoon (1 egg) portions (an ice cube tray works well) and freeze. That advice comes from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

So once you've got your extra yolks submerged or frozen, what do you do with them? Ice cream is a natural, but in this case the chatter had no ice cream maker. Custards of all kinds (creme brulees, zabaglione/sabayon, etc.) are good. Mmmm, lemon curd. Puddings, both sweet and savory. Mayonnaise, aioli, hollandaise. Homemade pasta. As a last resort, add a yolk to your dog's food as a treat (but not if you've already added salt or corn syrup to it).

I took a trip down memory lane through our Recipe Finder database. Here's a selection of recipes that will use up all the yolks you can generate. Many are desserts, but not all; there are side dishes, a soup, even a holiday drink.

Ciambella, a sweet orange and raisin bread (no yeast or rising involved) from Italy.

White Chocolate Creme Brulee, a recipe from pastry chef Zoe Behrens.

Brittany Butter Cookies, crumbly, buttery French shortbread cookies that are great with coffee.

Citrus Fruits With Grand Marnier Sabayon and Citrus Sorbet; you make the sabayon but buy the sorbet.

Crab Salad With Orange Dressing, a quick, no-cook main course.

Apricot Semifreddo, a light and airy frozen apricot mousse. No ice cream machine needed!

Mulled White Wine Soup, a cross between eggnog and Greek avgolemono.

Breton Apple Pie, a nontraditional version of a French regional specialty.

Chocolate Bread Pudding, easy to make but grand enough for a special dinner.

Cranberry-Clementine Sandwich Cookies, pretty and delicious filled cookies.

Chestnut-Maple Cheesecake, rich and addictively delicious.

Carminantonio's Tiramisu, a rich Italian favorite.

Gratin of Belgian Endive With Applewood Smoked Bacon, a side dish that's good with roasted chicken or turkey.


Chicken a la King, updated; a good use for leftover chicken.

Potato-Apple Galette; the dough is made from day-old baked potatoes.

Coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog.

Apple Walnut Pancakes, perfect with maple syrup and bacon.

-- Jane Touzalin

By Jane Touzalin  |  May 12, 2010; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Chat Leftovers  | Tags: Chat Leftovers, Free Range, Jane Touzalin  
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Next: Random acts of rhubarb


I have found that the only way to store extra yolks is refrigerated in water. I have tried freezing them with and without salt or sugar. But, the texture always changes and they become gummy. So, especially if you plan to use them in a recipe you should only store them in water for a couple days.

Posted by: SweetieJ | May 12, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

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