Elderflower, a quintessentially summer flavour commonly used for cordials and syrups. But have you ever tried using whole elderflower heads as a tasty summer snack or dessert? Our friend and forager, Liz Knight share her fritters recipe below from her new book ‘Forage: Wild Plants to Gather and Eat’.
One of the 22 botanicals hand-picked to create The Botanist Gin, elderflower has a strong floral flavour as well as a delicate sweetness. The dainty white flowers you need for this recipe are in bloom between June and July and are best picked in on a dry, sunny morning when the pollen count is at it’s highest.
Elderflower fritters (serves 4)
- Sunflower oil, for frying
- 1 large free-range organic egg
- 120ml ice-cold sparkling water
- 70g plain flour
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1½ tsp sugar
- 8 large heads of freshly picked elderflowers, shaken to remove insects
- Icing sugar, for dusting
Elderflower season can seem to go in the blink of an eye; a sudden rain deluge or heatwave can ruin hopes of a bumper harvest, but there are always a few latecomers to the elderflower party, and if you only have the chance to indulge in a few blooms, plunging them into hot oil, covered in batter, served with a sour frozen sherbet or ice cream is a treat that makes up for the lost crops.
- Fill a large pan one-third full with sunflower oil and place over a medium heat.
- Whilst the oil is heating, in a mixing bowl beat together the egg, half the water, the flour, salt and sugar and mix until lightly combined, then whisk in the rest of the water. Dip the flowers into the batter, shaking off any excess, place in the hot oil and fry for a few minutes until golden. Remove from the oil and place on a piece of kitchen roll to drain before dusting with icing sugar and serving immediately.