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Stuffed Gnocchi with Egg Yolks

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Kevin Liu Kevin Liu 10 years, 5 months ago.

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    Philip Morace

    I have been making potato gnocchi that I have been stuffing with egg yolks.

    The process is the following:

    1) I add 1/8 teaspoon of kosher salt to 1/4 cup of yolk, then freeze them using a small ice cube tray of 60 cubes
    2) Make normal potato gnocchi dough
    3) Enrobe the individual yolk cube with some of the gnocchi dough and then freeze until ready to cook.

    It works fine the day that they are made, they are beautiful as the yolk runs out when they are cut.

    However, when you leave them in the freezer for 24 hours or longer, the yolk become gelatinized and does not run. Can anyone help?

    Kevin Liu
    Kevin Liu


    This was a tricky question! I dug around and this is the best summary of the research I found:

    Freezing Egg Products

    basically, as of the writing of the above chapter, scientists still were not sure about all the mechanisms that cause egg yolks to gel at freezer temperatures. However, various researchers had developed solutions to the problem.

    Here are the most applicable to the home chef:

    • -dope the egg with 2% salt (you’re already doing this, so you could try increasing the salt content)
    • -add some papain to the yolks. papain is a naturally-occurring enzyme found in Papaya that breaks down proteins. It’s commonly sold in ethnic markets in powdered form as meat tenderizer. Not sure how much to add, and you may run the risk of the yolks becoming too runny.
    • -try “overmixing” the yolks. the chapter mentions this and I’ve noticed the effect when testing scrambled egg recipes. If you toss the yolks in a blender and just beat the heck out of them, they actually lose some of their gelling ability. However, keep in mind that the yolks will be crazy aerated; you could vacuum them if you have a vacuum sealer to get the air out, or let them rest for a while.

    A couple of other ideas, off the top of my head:

    • -It’s pretty well known that more alkaline egg yolks are more runny. Not sure how this would affect gelation in freezing conditions, but it’s easy enough to try doping your yolks with a little baking soda.
    • -The chapter above mentions that cooking thawed, gelled egg yolks at 60°C/140°F causes the yolk to become runny again. You could maybe try pre-cooking the yolks at this temperature; I know that this sort of “tempering” works with chocolate and some vegetables, but I’m not sure if the gelling mechanism in yolks is the same.
    • -And of course you could always try creating a themoreversible fluid gel that happened to taste like egg yolk using various hydrocolloids… 🙂

    Hope that helps and be sure to let us know how your experiments go.

    • This reply was modified 10 years, 5 months ago by Kevin Liu Kevin Liu.
    • This reply was modified 10 years, 5 months ago by Kevin Liu Kevin Liu.
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