Classic Deviled Eggs

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Deviled eggs often fall to the extremes, with fillings that are either pasty and monotonous or reminiscent of chunky egg salad. We wanted the deviled eggs of our childhood: perfectly cooked egg whites cradling a creamy filling made with simple ingredients and quickly whipped together. It was key to start with perfectly hard-cooked eggs. We combined the yolks with mayonnaise, mustard, cider vinegar, and Worcestershire, which gave us a full-flavored, but balanced, filling. During testing, a couple of the cooked egg whites typically ripped, which worked out well because it meant the remaining whites were very well stuffed. If all of your egg white halves are in perfect shape, discard two. For filling the eggs, a spoon works fine, but for eggs that look their Sunday best, use a pastry bag fitted with a fluted (star) tip, or make your own pastry bag by pressing the filling into the corner of a zipper-lock bag and snipping off the corner with scissors. Dust the filled eggs with paprika for a traditional look.

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SERVES 4 to 6  
TOTAL TIME 1 HOUR

We like the flavor of cider vinegar here, but any type will work.

7 large eggs (cold)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon whole-grain mustard
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper

1. Place eggs in medium saucepan, cover with 1 inch of water, and bring to boil over high heat. Remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fill medium bowl with ice water. Transfer eggs to ice water with slotted spoon to stop cooking; let sit until chilled, about 5 minutes.

2. Peel eggs and slice each in half lengthwise with paring knife. Transfer yolks to small bowl. Arrange whites on serving platter, discarding 2 worst-looking halves. Mash yolks with fork until no large lumps remain. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and Worcestershire and season with salt and pepper to taste. Mix with rubber spatula, mashing mixture against side of bowl until smooth. (Egg whites and yolk filling can be refrigerated, separately, for up to 2 days.)

3. Fit pastry bag with large open-star tip. Fill bag with yolk mixture, twisting top of pastry bag to help push mixture toward tip of bag. Pipe yolk mixture into egg white halves, mounding filling about 1/2 inch above flat surface of whites. Serve at room temperature.

LEARN HOW: Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs can easily end up with greenish yolks and bland fillings. We learned the green color appears because of prolonged heating. To make our hard-cooked eggs foolproof we start the eggs in cold water, bring the water to a boil, then turn off the heat and put the lid on the pan. The residual heat cooks the eggs in exactly 10 minutes. Plunging the eggs into ice water stops the cooking process and prevents the green ring from forming. We mash the yolks very smooth and then punch up the usual filling ingredients with cider vinegar, whole-grain mustard, and Worcestershire.

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1. PUT THE EGGS IN A COLD POT: Place the eggs in a medium saucepan in a single layer and cover them with 1 inch of tap water.

WHY? With each egg resting on the bottom of the pan, they will cook evenly. If you’re cooking more than seven eggs, you might want to switch to a Dutch oven. The timing will be the same as long as the eggs are kept in a single layer.

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2. BRING THE WATER TO BOIL AND TAKE THE POT OFF THE HEAT: Once the water is boiling, remove the pot from the heat, cover with the pot lid, and set the timer for 10 minutes.

WHY? Since this recipe relies on residual heat to cook the eggs, the water must come to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn off the heat and use a tight-fitting lid so the water won’t cool off quickly.

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3. CHILL THE EGGS IMMEDIATELY AFTER COOKING: While the eggs cook, fill a medium bowl with ice water. As soon as the eggs are done, transfer them to the ice water to stop the cooking.

WHY? The ice bath stops the eggs from cooking further. If you skip this step, residual heat that’s trapped inside the egg will turn a perfectly cooked egg into an overcooked egg.

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4. CAREFULLY PEEL THE EGGS AND SEPARATE THE WHITES AND YOLKS: Peel the eggs and carefully slice each egg in half lengthwise. Transfer the yolks to a small bowl. Arrange the egg whites on a platter, discarding the two worst-looking halves.

WHY? For easier peeling, start at the air pocket end. No matter how careful you are, a few of the peeled cooked whites may tear. Don’t worry, you can pack the remaining whites with extra filling.

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5. MAKE A SMOOTH FILLING USING THE YOLKS: Mash the yolks with a fork until no large lumps remain. Add the other filling ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Mix with a rubber spatula, mashing the mixture against the side of the bowl until smooth.

WHY? Mashing the yolks smooth will take longer than you think, but having a smooth filling is important, or you’ll end up with pockets of hard, powdery yolk.

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6. PIPE THE FILLING ATTRACTIVELY INTO THE EGG WHITES: Fit a pastry bag with an open-star tip, then fill with the yolk mixture. Twist the top of the bag to help push the yolk mixture toward the tip, then gently pipe the mixture into the egg whites.

WHY? Using a pastry bag (or zipper-lock bag) makes filling the egg whites easy, and ensures that the filling gets evenly distributed and looks attractive.

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