Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Elderflower Turkish Delight

The weather here has been miserable - cold, dark and damp for days. Famously not the best weather for collecting elderflowers, but as I've never perceived an odd flavour from my previous rainy harvests, I'm going to risk it again with the damp flowers that now sit in my basket. Perhaps I should wait for resplendent sunshine, but hey, I live in Ireland. It rains a lot here. It rained through almost the entire elderflower season last year. It could be a long wait for elderflowers collected by the book this year. Damp elderflowers it has to be.

Alrighty then, plans for these fragrant little flowers. Since reading Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Hedgerow River Cottage Handbook, which is excellent by the way, I've had a bit of a yearning to try the Elderflower Delight. It's been a bit of a wait between reading and for the elderflowers to arrive, but arrive they finally have!  Hugh's recipe uses gelatine which is something I'm not keen on. I've done a bit of improvising with cream of tartar and, I'm pleased to say, it worked!

Elderflower Turkish Delight
20 Elderflower sprays
700g granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
400ml water
1 heaped tsp cream of tartar
130g cornflour + a little extra
30g icing sugar
  • Strip the elderflower blossoms using a fork and tie them into a piece of muslin (or similar) to form a bag.
  • Put the granulated sugar, lemon juice and 300ml of water in a heavy based pan, heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then leave to cool.
  • Line a shallow baking tray with baking parchment and dust with the extra cornflour.
  • In a bowl mix the 130g of cornflour, cream of tartar and remaining water until smooth, then add to the lemon sugar syrup.
  • Suspend the muslin bag in the pan and put back on a low heat stirring continuously (in a figure of eight) giving the bag a squeeze with the back of the spoon from time to time.
  • After 10/15 mins remove the bag - continuing to stir the now thickening mixture.
  • The mixture will become extremely gloopy. Test for readiness by dropping a little of the mixture onto a cold plate - you're looking for it to set firm. This can take quite a while and is tough on the arms.
  • Pour onto the prepared lined shallow baking tin and leave to cool for an hour before placing in the fridge.
  • Cut into squares with a sharp knife and roll in icing sugar.

Typically, the day after I wrote this post we've had the most glorious sunshiny day. Tsk. I don't think the Delight could have turned out any better though, sunshine or no :0)