Nigella’s Christmas Feast – Devilled eggs

There’s not much that can get me squeezing a fancy-nozzled piping bag, but this recipe compelled me to. Although devilled eggs are a bit fiddly to make, they’re not difficult, and they are always a major hit. Even though I make a lot of devilled eggs, there is never a single left. It’s best to use eggs that are approaching their use-by date, as the fresher they are, the harder they are to peel. You can keep the yolks from burning when you cook eggs by letting them rest on top of a plate or in boxes overnight. It’s not a fail-safe guarantee, but it does seem to make a difference.


12 large eggs, at room temperature

4 tbsp mayonnaise

1-2 tsp English mustard

Sea salt flakes 1 teaspoon (or more depending on your taste).

¼ tsp paprika, plus more for sprinkling

A few drops Tabasco to give it a taste

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oils

1 – 3 TBSP water taken from a fresh boiled kettle

2 Tbsp chopped finely chives

  • Bring some water to the boil in a saucepan that’s big enough to hold the 12 eggs on their sides and, once it’s boiling, gently ferry the eggs, one by one, into the pan and bring back to the boil. Let the water boil for 1 minute. Then turn off heat. Leave the eggs in the pan to cool for 12 minutes.
  • While you’re waiting for the eggs to cook, fill a large bowl with very cold water, and throw in a handful of ice cubes if you have them. As soon as the eggs have had their 12 minutes, spoon them, egg by egg, into the cold water and leave for 15 minutes – no longer – before peeling patiently and carefully.
  • Cut the eggs in half longways. Then, with your fingers, remove each yolk from the eggs and place them in a bowl. The 18 best-looking whites should be placed on one or more plates. Each egg will be filled with more yolks than whites.
  • Add the mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon English mustard to the bowl. Season with salt, pepper, and some Tabasco. Use a fork to stir and then use a stick blender to blend. Mix in the oil. Blitz once more until it is smooth. This will make it very thick. You can taste it to determine if the heat is right for you. I generally go up to 2 teaspoons of mustard and quite a bit more Tabasco, but it’s best to proceed slowly. Mix the mixture by hand.
  • Use a star-icing nozzle to attach a bag to a pipet and then spoon the mixture into the bag. Next pipe the golden mixture, filling it with golden rosettes. Use a teaspoon to stir the yolk mixture. Serve with some chopped chives, paprika, and a big flourish.