Or…A Sugared Bouquet for Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day has a pretty sweet deal. It’s positioned smack in the middle of spring which means the day is naturally adorned with spring rains, fresh sunshine and of course, flowers. If you’re looking for a creative way to celebrate spring, Mother’s Day, or just feel like expanding your flavor horizons then just step outside your back door. Some of the plants and flowers pushing through the soil can provide a surprising, although unconventional, hue of flavor to your favorite spring dessert.
Here’s a simple technique you can use to preserve these herbs or flowers in sugar. The effect is beautiful. A sweet bouquet for Mother’s Day…who can resist that? You can eat the flowers individually and you can save them in an air-tight container for several months and then sprinkle them on desserts of your choice.
When deciding which flowers to use let nature be your guide. Here are the rules.
- First and most important, make sure they’re edible. Generally, flowers from your herbs make a good choice although there are others.
- Second, harvest the season. For example, are mint, dill, and tarragon coming up? Great…use those.
- Third, when choosing your leaves and flowers take heed of the obvious: don’t consume any plants treated with herbicides or other chemicals sprays or powders. Not smart. Not healthy.
Here were my picks:
You know those weedy, wild violets that return every year to the nooks in your your yard? The same ones you try and eradicate every year? You can eat them. A sugared violet has a taste that is pure, delicate and almost innocent in its nature. I guarantee it will make you smile. If it doesn’t this violet cocktail from the violet-obsessed My Man’s Belly blog will.
Would a sugared mint leaf taste good? Two words: mint juleb. Or one: mojito. (This cocktail theme is pure coincidence. Swear.)
A lilac’s scent is intoxicating. It’s saturated scent fills you with the very essence of springtime: clean, fresh, and fragrant. What does a lilac taste like? Find a fresh lilac flower and inhale deeply. Not sure how to explain it but it tastes exactly like its perfumed aroma.
One egg white at room temperature; one tablespoon room temperature water; one fine point paintbrush; 1 cup superfine sugar; wax paper
What To Do:
Using a whisk or hand-held egg beater blend the egg white with the water. Using the brush paint the egg white onto your flower. Take care to cover the flower entirely. You don’t want the flower to be too loaded with egg white but you need enough to ensure every portion of the flower is covered. Sprinkle the sugar on the flower. Lay it on wax paper until it dries.
After 6-8 hours I gently move each flower so it doesn’t stick to the wax paper. I’ll add more sugar if the coating seems scant. It will take up to a day for each flower to fully dry.
- You are essentially using the egg white to preserve the flower. If one portion is left exposed the plant will oxidize and turn brown. Be prepared to have a few of your attempts do this no matter how careful you are.
- When using a lilac, you’ll notice the bloom is made up of a cluster of small flowers. Pluck an individual flower at the base, below the green bud portion.
- Violets are tricky because they have a lot of surface area and delicate petals. I leave an extra inch of stem on the violet when covering it in egg white. Do the backs of the petals first (they fold inward and stick if you do the inside first). Hold it by the stem to sprinkle the sugar on it. Then I trim the stem shorter and dab more egg white to seal up the stem. Take care to get the inside of the violet.
- I sprinkled my sugared flowers on a honey angel food cake with a lemon curd sauce. Vanilla custards, crepes and vanilla ice-cream are good suggestions.
It’d be sweet if you shared your sugaring experiences here. What did you choose and how did you serve it? If you have a blog include a link to the recipe—it’d be fun to see.