The elderflower cordial was a wonderful way of preserving some of my elderflower bounty, but what I really wanted to make were fritters. Yes, fritters. These dainty little blossoms can be deep fried into a delicious sweet treat that is as beautiful as it is delicious.
This recipe is totally magic. Hot oil is ready to go on the stove. You’ve whipped up a thin batter and your elderflower heads are at the ready. You dunk the first head into the batter and it clumps together into this wet mop of a thing. You fret. Is this going to work? You gently shake off the excess batter and lower the head into the hot oil. Then comes the magic: a firework, a coral reef, a cloud! A beautifully lacy fried thing. The flower head that had clumped together in the batter suddenly peacocks back to life when it hits the hot oil. Each time it happened, Bryan and I would smile and “whoaaaa!”. It is endlessly amusing.
The hot fritters are piled on a plate, dusted with powdered sugar and sprinkled with fresh blossoms. It is one of the prettiest plates of food I have produced. And then you tear into it.
I know what you are thinking: but I don’t have any elderflowers! I thought the same thing for the past few years, and then suddenly they landed in my kitchen. Some day you will find yourself with a basket full of elderflowers and you’ll know exactly where to go for recipes.
Elderflower Fritters (adapted, slightly, from the Guardian)
- 12-16 heads of freshly picked elderflowers
- 200g plain flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 300ml cold sparkling water (maybe a little more)
- a good glug of grappa
- light oil for frying (I used safflower)
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting
Sift the flour into a bowl and make a well in the middle. Put the egg into the well and mixing with a wooden spoon or whisk, start incorporating the egg into the flour. Gradually add the water, mixing all the time until the batter is thin, like double cream, and smooth. Finally, mix in some grappa. Leave the batter to rest in the fridge for 15 minutes or so.
Heat the oil in a deep pan to 350°F, it needs to come at least 2.5 inches up the sides. Test the heat by dropping in a teaspoonful of batter, it should bubble and start to turn golden quickly.
One at a time, dip the flowers into the batter. Gently shake off the excess and lower them carefully into the hot oil. Cook them for a few seconds on each side or until the batter turns golden.
Remove and lay on kitchen roll to absorb any excess oil.
When they are all cooked, dust with icing sugar and serve hot.