Elderflower Fritters

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.

30 comments to “Elderflower Fritters”

  1. Brilliant and gorgeous! Elderflowers are called Holunder here in Germany and very popular.

  2. …*giggle* Just picturing you two standing at the stove in amazement saying, “whoaaa!”… ;o)

    …I am loving these Elderflower recipes! They are such a pretty blossom that I would find it hard not to want to arrange them in a vase versus eating them! lol… :o)

    …Thank you for sharing!

    …Blessings :o)

  3. Tim, that sounds amazing. I’ll have to get my hands on some elderflowers…

    Do you have any general tips for deep-frying things? I’ve never done it before, and I know it’s not that big a deal, but I still have horrible visions of starting a grease fire and burning my apartment to cinders.

  4. “someday you’ll find yourself with a basket full of elderflowers…” one can only hope! haha

  5. Wow, this is amazing. beautiful! absolutely.

  6. Ooh, these look delicious. I keep hearing about elderflower fritters this year! We have elderflowers in the garden, and I made some cordial and champagne a few weeks ago. If there are any flowers left I’m going to have to try this!

  7. Absolutely gorgeous. Would love to know where I could find elderflowers.

  8. Just found some elderflowers at the Andersonville market. The woman said she’d have them this week only. (She also said she kinda hoped they wouldn’t sell so she’d be able to keep them for herself.)

    How essential is the grappa to this, do you think? Do I need to go out and buy a bottle or could I sub another glug of some other liquor?

  9. Hi Mary, Don’t worry about the grappa-you could use kirsch, or even st. germain or just omit it entirely.

  10. These fritters are just gorgeous. The sprinkling of sugar and flowers compliments the delicate fritters perfectly. I wish I could eat these right now!

  11. I love elderflowers. Never really had succes with frying them, though – maybe I should give this recipe a try! You can check out my blog for a recipe of elderflower sugar, if you like.

    Best, Agnes

  12. Gorgeous. I’ll have to give these a try next time I want to impress some guests.

  13. How beautiful! Sounds perfect for a lovely afternoon picnic :)

  14. How creative! Thank you for trying something so unusual and providing such lovely photos.

  15. The day that Elderflowers just show up in my kitchen… that will be a very happy day, indeed. Happy 4th, Tim!

  16. i spent HOURS reading your blog today. thank you for having such delicious and amazing posts!

  17. oh my gosh, mt–thanks so much! that is so sweet.

  18. Elderflowers remind me of summers in London. I love how dainty the elderflower fritters are. They almost look like pretty little doilies. This would make an elegent wedding dessert. They just look so romantic.

  19. These are so beautiful. I think I may have missed the elderflower season here but I’ll remember it for next year.

  20. Oh my I loved eating fried elderberry flowers when I lived in Bavaria. There you were given the choice of regular powder sugar or a cinnamon sugar mix.

    I miss helping pick the berries to make jam! I have been told they grow wild here Southern Illinois but I haven’t been able to find them since moving here. I will have to go on a search tomorrow!

  21. I love this! I keep reading about elderflower and I have never seen this plant/flower. I needed some elderflower liqueur for a rhubarb/sabayon that I made a few months back. That was the first I had come across this. Your fritters do look delicious and I do love saying the word…fritter.

  22. Well, that’s it. I’ve always been afraid to fry elderflowers and only recently attempted cordial, but I think it’s the photos that sold me. Next year I will tromp around my yard and fritter some time away on loveliness….

  23. Yes, Jenny! You will be glad you tried.

  24. This is crazy talk. And I love it. You rock.

  25. Ashley Johnson says:

    August 24th, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    They look lovely! Should I be concerned about eating the Elderberry stems? I’ve read that they are poisonous…

  26. Ashley- that I had not heard. And I am alive and well after eating a plateful, so I think it is okay. But if you are at all worried, obviously don’t try this at home!

  27. this is what wikipedia says:
    The leaves, twigs, branches, seeds and roots contain a cyanide-inducing glycoside (a glycoside which gives rise to cyanide as the metabolism processes it). Ingesting any of these parts in sufficient quantity can cause a toxic build up of cyanide in the body.
    Due to the possibility of cyanide poisoning, children should be discouraged from making whistles, slingshots or other toys from elderberry wood. In addition, “herbal teas” made with elderberry leaves (which contain cyanogenic glycosides) should be treated with high caution. However, ripe berries (pulp and skin) are safe to eat.

  28. Hi Laura- Again, if anyone is concerned about eating elderflowers- don’t do it. I am not concerned, and will continue to do so. I can’t imagine anyone eating so many elderflower fritters that they build up cyanide in their system. It isn’t an everyday food. Also, for the record, that Wikipedia article is not sourced very well and goes on to say that the flowers can be made into fritters and cordial. And again, like many before me, I have survived elderflowers. ; )

  29. These flower fritters are just gorgeous! Dusted with icing sugar and sprinkled with elderflowers, I can just imagine nibbling away on them with a fine cup of tea.

  30. doris smith says:

    May 5th, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I ate elderberry fritters as kid growing up Bavaria. They still serve Holunder Schorle in Restaurants. I am 64 years old, no adverse effect from Elderberry consumption.

What do you think?