The elderflower season is up on us, a little late this year as the weather has been rubbish in France and the UK but the grand bushes/trees in our garden planted as pushed in twigs a few years ago are in their perfumed glory.
I have posted about Elderflowers before so you you want to know more about this lovely little shrub check out my post here.
The cooking window for the flowers is quite short, the trees have to be in flower! Dry, preferably in sun to encourage the aroma and picked midday or early afternoon when they are the most perfumed.
A basket of Elderflowers
I used the flowers in a variety of ways to make;
- Elderflower Cordial
- Elderflower Vinegar
- Elderflower Sorbet
- Elderflower Pannacotta
All the recipes are simple in there execution hence the rather impressive list.
So in descending order
It’s been a few years since I made Elderflower Champagne as I have preferred to make this cordial. It’s far more versatile than champagne as it can be drunk diluted to taste, added to a Gin and Tonic, used to flavour desserts or simply drizzled over ice cream. I posted a link to the recipe an old post, but here it is in all it’s glory.
- 1.5 litres water
- 1 kilo of white sugar
- 25 Elderflower heads
- Juice and zest of 4 lemons
- 55 grams citric acid – Finding citric acid can be a little problematic, traditionally stocked at chemists but many don’t stock it now. Try home brew shops (cheapest), Lakelands or other specialist cook shops.
Snip the flowers off the stalks using a pair of scissors. Bring the water to the boil and add the sugar, stir until the sugar is dissolved. Take the water off the boil and add the flowers, lemon juice, lemon zest and citric acid. Leave to steep overnight then strain through boiled or ironed muslim into sterilised bottles. Label and store in a dark place.
The muslim is boiled or ironed to sterilise the cloth, to sterilise the bottles pop into a low oven for 15 minutes of put them through a dishwasher wash cycle.
The cordial keeps very well at least a year.
Elderflower vinegar is an embarrassingly simple recipe that helps you to transform a light salad dressing into a breath of summer, something very welcome in the winter. The vinegar can also be drunk as a cordial by diluting with water and adding sugar to taste.
To make cram a wide bottomed jar with as many elderflowers as possible (snipped from there stalks with scissors), add enough white wine or cider vinegar to cover (about 750ml – 1 litre) leave to steep in a dark place for 3 weeks. Filter through muslim or a clean tea towel bottle and use as required. Keeps for ages.
Another simple recipe that doesn’t require an ice cream making machine. Truth be told it is pretty sweet a small glass is very nice but you won’t be wanting a bowl!
- 750 grams sugar
- 1 litre water
- 15 heads of Elderflower
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons.
Boil the water and add the sugar, stir until the sugar has dissolved. Take the water of the boil and add the elderflowers (snipped of the stalks) the lemon juice and zest. Leave to steep over night in a non-reactive bowl or container.
The following day strain through muslim or a clean tea towel add the contents to an ice cream maker and follow the manufactures instructions, alternatively add the liquid to a freezer proof bowl freeze until crystals start to form, stir and repeat until the sorbet is set.
And finally……..Elderflower Pannacotta which is very nice indeed. TV chefs go on about this, getting the set, getting the wobble etc but truth be told Pannacotta is cream jelly. Don’t go mad on the gelatine and unlike the TV programmes give yourself more than a couple of hours between making it and eating it.
You can make this Pannacotta with your home made cordial but if available I prefer to use fresh flowers as I think the final result is more frag
Bottles of Cordial
Ingredients for 4 servings
- 3 sheets of gelatin
- 150 ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream
- 20 elderflowers
- 75g caster sugar
- A slug of gin
Soak the gelatin in warm water. Snip the flowers from the stalks and put into a pan with the milk and cream, bring gently to the boil and simmer for ten minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, squeeze the water out of the softened gelatine and add to the pan with a good slug of gin, stir until the gelatine is dissolved.
Sieve the mixture through muslim or a clean tea towel into the a suitable large or individual moulds. Leave to cool then chill in a fridge until set (about 4 hours). That’s it, you can turn out the pannacotta onto a serving plate if you like, you’ll need to dip the mould into hot water or serve in glasses, teacups or whatever. It’s great served with summer fruits.
That’s it lots of ideas, the best thing about cooking with Elderflower is that it is great to do with kids, I gathered and made the pannacotta with Oscar my 6 year old nephew, we had a blast and when we finished Oscar took me to the pub for a cheeky half, Oscar had pop