Saturday, 2 June 2012

Waxing Lyrical about Elderflowers!

The Elderflowers are out and making everything smell lovely!
I'm trying to work out whether I have the time and inclination to make Elderflower Cordial.

Just like shop-bought cordial but if there are elderflowers growing near you, this recipe is simple. For maximum flavour, pick newly opened creamy coloured flower heads.

Makes 2 litres (3 1/2 pints)

You need:
30 elderflower heads
2 lemons, scrubbed and sliced
1 x 50g pack citric acid (from good pharmacies)
1.8kg (4lb) granulated sugar

Lemon slices, to serve
Tonic water or sparkling mineral water, to serve

Muslin and 2 x 1-litre (1 3/4-pint) bottles

Turn the elderflower heads gently out on to a draining board or table top (or clean newspaper if too many heads for indoors), leave for approximately 1 hour and any tiny insects will scuttle out. Snip the main stalk from each head and let the flowers drop into a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon slices, citric acid and granulated sugar. Bring 1.5 litres (2 1/2 pints) of cold water to the boil and pour over the mixture. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and leave the mixture for 5 days, stirring it once a day. 
After this time, line a colander with a double thickness of muslin and set over a bowl. Scald the muslin by pouring over boiling water, and then discard the water. Turn the elderflower brew into the muslin-lined colander and let the cordial strain through. Discard everything left behind in the colander. Use a jug to scoop the cordial from the bowl and pour into bottles. 
To serve, pour 2-3 tablespoons of cordial into a tumbler. Add ice and a slice of lemon and fill up with water, tonic water or sparkling mineral water. 
The cordial will keep, refrigerated, for up to 3 months. If you want it to last for up to 1 year, introduce a campden tablet (a preservative used by home wine makers and available from pharmacies). Crush 1 tablet to a powder and mix with 1 tablespoon of cold water to dissolve. Add to the cordial after straining.

On the other hand, I might just make Elderflower Cupcakes:

Elderflower cupcakes

Preparation time:
30 minutes
Cooking time:
20 minutes
Total time:
50 minutes 50 minutes


175g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
3 eggs
5 tbsp elderflower cordial
175g self-raising flour pearl swirl white icing flowers, for decorating (optional)


110g unsalted butter,softened
120g icing sugar
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
50g cream cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 180° gas mark 4; line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper cases. Using electric beaters, cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl for 5 - 6 minutes until pale and fluffy.
2. In a jug, gently whisk together the eggs and cordial. Add a spoonful of flour to the creamed butter then slowly pour in the egg mixture, beating constantly. Sift the remaining flour and a pinch of salt into the mixture and fold in until evenly combined.
3. Place heaped tablespoons of the batter into the cases and bake for 18 - 20 minutes until the cakes are golden and spring back when touched. Cool on a wire rack.
4. For the icing, cream the butter, icing sugar and cordial together for 3 - 4 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the cream cheese until you have a thick, creamy icing. Spread or pipe over the cupcakes and decorate with icing flowers, if liked.

 Incidentally, there's also a Diamond Jubilee on (just in case you hadn't noticed!).

No, the pictures don't have anything to do with the text - I don't have any pictures of Elderflowers! :-)

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