Elderflowers give a beautiful perfume to a dish, and add something special to this classic panna cotta. This is a desert which, despite its appearance on fancy restaurant menus, is a simple one to make. All you need is time for the gelatine to do its thing and set the sweetened cream.
You will need (serves 4)
50ml double cream
2 tbsp. elderflower cordial
20g caster sugar
knife tip of vanilla paste
2 leaves of gelatine
100g strawberries (sliced)
1 peach (sliced)
1 tbsp. elderflower cordial
Stir the milk, cream, sugar and vanilla together in a pan over a lowish heat until the sugar dissolves and the liquid is just starting to boil. Take off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
Soak the gelatine in cold water for five to 10 minutes, then remove from the water and squeeze out water. Add to the warm milk and cream mixture and stir until dissolved. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave to cool. Mix in the yoghurt until smooth. Pour the mixture into small glasses, cover and chill for four hours. Meanwhile, hull and slice the strawberries and put in a bowl with the elderflower cordial. Leave to macerate for 30 minutes. I tend to serve these panna cotta in the glasses, with the fruit on top; but if you want to turn out of the moulds, dip the glasses in hot water for a few seconds, then turn onto a plate.
I’m entering this recipe for Four Seasons Food celebrating the vegetables and fruits of spring. FSF is run by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg who is hosting this month.
I look forward to the first few Elderflower blooms on the tree at the allotment. For me it really marks the start of the growing season, and in particular the start of the period of cropping from the allotment. At the moment the Queen of the Hedgerow is covering the land with white blooms and its heady scent. Elderflower has historically been known as a medicinal herb; being diaphoretic, anti-inflammatory and anti-catarrhal, and can be prepared as tea, tincture or a cold infusion. In culinary terms it is used in fritters, and perhaps most often made into a cordial. For me an ice cold drink of Elderflower cordial with a sprig of mint is the perfect summer afternoon refresher, and best of all its cheap and easy to make your own.
You will need
About 25 elderflower heads – Elderflowers need to be picked in the first half of the day and in sunshine in order to get the best cordial.
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons and 1 orange, plus their juice (about 150ml in total)
1 heaped tsp citric acid (optional)
Check out the elderflower heads carefully and remove any bugs and bits. Place the flower heads in a large bowl together with the orange and lemon zest. Pour 1.5 litres boiling water over the elderflowers and citrus zest. Cover and leave to infuse overnight. Strain the liquid through a jelly bag, before pouring into a saucepan. Add the sugar, the lemon and orange juice and the citric acid to help preserve the drink and make it clear. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar, then bring to a simmer and cook for a couple of minutes. Once ready, use a funnel to pour the hot syrup into sterilised bottles. Seal the bottles with swing-top lids, then pasteurise for twenty minutes at 80°C. Even without pasteurisation I have had bottles last for several months, and enjoyed the cordial well into the autumn.
I’m entering this recipe for Four Seasons Food celebrating the vegetables of spring. FSF is run by Anneli at Delicieux and Louisa at Eat Your Veg who is hosting this month.
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