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Marbleized Tea Eggs

6 medium or 8 large eggs
1 tsp. coarse kosher salt

1 Tbsp. thin (regular) soy sauce
1 Tbsp. black (thick) soy sauce
1/4 tsp. coarse kosher salt
2 whole star anise, broken into 16 individual points

2 Tbsp. black tea leaves plus 1 two-inch length cinnamon stick, crumbled,
plus 1 thumb-sized piece fresh or home-dried orange or tangerine peel,
white pith removed


2 Tbsp. cinnamon or orange-spiced black tea leaves


4 tsp. Constant Comment spiced tea leaves

Begin 12 hours to 1 1/2 full days in advance of serving. Put eggs
and salt in a large, heavy saucepan. Cover with a generous amount
of cold water, then bring to a near boil over moderate heat. Reduce
heat to maintain a steady simmer, then cook uncovered for 20 minutes.
Drain, then rush eggs under cold water and let them sit in a cold
bath until cool.

Using the back of a heavy spoon, tap a network of fine cracks over
surface of each egg, cradling egg in your palm and turning gently
as you tap. Don't tap too hard. But if you do and the shell comes
off, don't worry--it will just be dark, a nice contrast to the
marbled eggs. Return the eggs carefully to a heavy pot that will
hold them snugly. Add the steeping ingredients and 3 cups cold
water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil over high heat, stir
near top of liquid to submerge tea leaves, then reduce heat to
maintain a steaming, weak simmer. Cover the pot tightly and simmer
3 hours. Check periodically to see that the eggs remain almost
covered and add water if needed. Do not add too much, lest you
dilute the infusion. Swirl the pot several times while cooking to
distribute liquids over the eggs.

After three hours, turn off the heat. let the eggs steep in the
covered pot at room temperature for at least 8 hours, or for as
long as 1 1/2 days. The longer they sit, the richer the flavor
and the darker the color. Eggs may be eaten tepid, at room
temperature, or chilled. Just before serving, peel eggs carefully
and remove any clinging membrane. Cut in half or quarters if you
wish, and arrange. Store unpeeled eggs in their shells, refrigerated
and tightly sealed. Store leftover peeled eggs in refrigerator,
sealed airtight. Tea eggs will keep 4-5 days.


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