devilled eggs: time for a revival?

devilled eggs
Almost from the moment that humans first learned to cook an egg, I suspect that they were "devilling" (spicing) them too. We know that the Romans such as the gourmand Apicius liked their egg recipes; I suspect those ancients liked theirs drizzled in garum or liquamen (highly pungent sauces made from fermented fish - possibly an acquired taste!) The sadly maligned Victorians would devil just about anything, which goes to prove that in food, at least, they were neither particularly conservative nor unadventurous. And I would defy anyone to find a cookbook on entertaining from the 1950s, 60s and 70s that didn't include these brightly coloured little numbers.

It seems to me that devilled eggs have latterly fallen out of fashion in our desire for novelty. This is such a shame. I think they should be revived. The simple beauty in a devilled egg is not just in its gorgeous colour, or that it is unbelievably simple to make, but that is just tastes delicious. And in my case, the spicier the better.

Apologies for the slightly dishevelled appearance of the eggs, as I managed to drop them on the floor . . . fortunately when they were still in their shells, before they were peeled. But despite their ratty appearance and the fact that my piping bag split while I was trying to pipe out the devilled yolks (the kitchen gods were having a bit of fun at my expense that day), they were still gorgeous!

Serve with Ritz Crackers, for that extra retro feeling!

Skill level: Easy

6 large hard-boiled eggs, peeled
1 tbsp mustard powder
1 tsp English mustard or Dijon
cayenne pepper, to taste
3-4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
salt and freshly ground black pepper
chopped capers and gherkins, to serve
Ritz crackers, to serve (optional!)


  1. Halve the eggs and remove the yolks.
  2. Mash the yolks with a fork until smooth. 
  3. Combine the yolks with the rest of the ingredients. Check the seasoning.
  4. Spoon or pipe back into the egg white halves.
  5. Dust with more paprika or cayenne.
  6. Serve with chopped pickles and crackers.


  • Perfect hard-boiled eggs:
    Boil for between 6 and 7 minutes, then immediately cool under cold running water for a couple of minutes. Tap them to crack the shells, and then leave in a bowl of cold water until cool enough to handle. This rapid cooling helps to prevent the grey rings that often form around the egg yolk.
  • It probably sounds counter-intuitive, but the freshest eggs are not the best for hard-boiling as they are much harder to peel!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I have never made devilled eggs but I do secretly love them and it is party season afterall... LOVE a ritz cracker though, fabulously retro!