Elderflower Cordial and a Recipe to Use It
Summer of 2014 I decided to make Elderflower Cordial. There was something about the process that attracted me. It had the DIY aspect all rolled up together with an old-fashioned recipe and some foraging thrown in for good measure. I drove around for a few weeks scoping out the bushes. Some were on private property, so those were off-limits. Others were on highway medians! Yeah, that seemed a tad dangerous. I finally found some on public land, quite accessible really, on the edge of a parking lot. I gathered the blooms at the “correct” time, picking the heads when the blossoms were newly bloomed and still quite fresh. The process was easy, the flavor delicate. All in all it was a satisfying process. This recipe for Wild Elderflower Gelatin Desserts is from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchenas are the Chester Cake and Rose Carrageen. This dish is as elegant or as simple as you present it, so choose your glassware for the desired effect. Note that the Wild Elderflower Cordial makes 2 quarts, so you will have extra. See Tips below for ideas from author Clodagh McKenna.
Excerpted with permission from Clodagh’s Irish Kitchen: A Fresh Take on Traditional Flavorsby Clodagh McKenna. Published by Kyle Books. Photography by Tara Fisher.
This is such a decadent dessert. Light and subtle in flavor, it makes a great palate cleanser after fish or a rich meal. The flavor of elderflower is floral and fragrant, subtle yet full, not sweet, but heaven in a glass when infused in a light sugar syrup or set in a jelly like this one. Elderflowers grow wild in Ireland during the month of June, so when you are out walking in the country roads, keep an eye out for them as you may be walking past one of the most delightful wild ingredients that will make a delicious gelatin dessert or cordial.
- 30 heads elderﬂower
- 3 lemons
- 5 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons citric acid (optional, but will keep the cordial preserved for up to 1 month)
- You will need a piece of clean cheesecloth
- ¾ cup superfine sugar
- 4 gelatin sheets
- ⅔ cups Wild Elderflower Cordial
- For the Wild Elderflower Cordial: Gently rinse the elderﬂower heads and place them in a large bowl. Grate the lemon zest over the ﬂowers, then slice the lemons and add them to the bowl.
- Put the sugar in a saucepan with 2 quarts water and bring to a boil, stirring to ensure that the sugar dissolves. Take off the heat and let cool.
- Once the syrup has cooled, pour it over the elderﬂowers and stir in the citric acid, if using. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let infuse in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
- Strain the cordial through a piece of cheesecloth and pour into sterilized glass bottles (see opposite). This will keep for up to 1 month with citric acid; up to 1 week without.
- For the Wild Elderflower Gelatin Desserts: Place the sugar and 13/4 cups water in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Keep stirring until the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat.
- Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water until soft, about 1 minute. Drain and stir into the syrup, until dissolved.
- Add the elderflower cordial to the sugar syrup. Stir gently to combine, then let cool.
- (Raspberries are also delicious added to this jelly. Simply place 12/3 cups raspberries in the glasses (divided evenly) and pour the gelatin syrup into the glasses as above.)
- Divide the cooled gelatin syrup among 4 individual 7 fl oz glasses. (Raspberries are also delicious added to this jelly. Simply place 12/3 cups raspberries in the glasses (divided evenly) and pour the gelatin syrup into the glasses as above.)
- Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour.
For Sparkling Elderﬂower Cocktail, ﬁll a Champagne ﬂute with one part Wild Elderﬂower Cordial to two parts Prosecco or Champagne.