April 14, 2016

Candied Lilacs and spring delights!



For those of us in the great white north, it's still a little early for lilacs, but they really are just around the corner. 




My latest video recipe for Lilac Coconut Cream Tarts is truly an unabashed lilac fiesta, and if you want to go all out with it, then I'm afraid you'll need to make some candied lilacs to plop on top for a fancy flourish! 




But first, here's the video of the tart-making in its full spring glory (I filmed it last year so I could release it just a little ahead of lilac season this year):



For the Coconut Lilac Cream Tart recipe, go to my post on PBS Food.

As for the candied lilac, they're really quite simple to make and there are two main techniques I'd like to share with you. One age-old method involves dipping the blooms in an egg white wash and then then dipping the flowers in sugar. But I know some people feel a bit squeamish about raw egg whites, so the other option is to make a basic sugar syrup instead of using egg whites. (Alternately, you can use powdered egg whites mixed with water). I've used both methods and either one is fine. As an aside, this will work for violets as well as most edible flowers.

METHOD 1:
Fresh, unsprayed lilac blossoms (stems removed)
1 egg white
2 tsp water
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Be sure to use freshly-picked, unsprayed flowers and remove any green bits as they will give an off-taste. Whisk the egg white and water together. Using tweezers, dip the flowers in the egg wash (or for more control, paint the egg wash on with a small paintbrush) and then sprinkle the sugar on top of the flower, making sure you cover every side of the flower. Allow the flowers to dry for around 12 hours. You can use them right away or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

METHOD 2:
Fresh, unsprayed lilac blossoms (stems removed)
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fine granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)

Be sure to use freshly-picked, unsprayed flowers and remove any green bits as they will give an off-taste. Cook the sugar and water until it reaches 220F on a candy thermometer. Allow mixture to cool fully before dipping in the lilac blossoms. Sprinkle the sugar on top of the flower, making sure you cover every side of the flower. Allow the flowers to dry for around 12 hours. You can use them right away or store them in an airtight container for up to 3 months.


In other news, spring seems to have FINALLY arrived in Toronto where I'm based for the next couple of months, madly scrambling to finish a documentary film and graduate research. (More about that very soon!) And yesterday, I had the great privilege of interviewing the one and only Dr. Jane Goodall who is just simply one of the most delightful human beings to walk this earth. She is so full of love and wisdom that you can't help but come away feeling a renewed sense of hope and determination to make the world a better place. Here is a snapshot after our interview (I think I might be professing my undying love here):



“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 
                                                                                                                           ― Dr. Jane Goodall



8 comments:

  1. I would love to make these - I'm enchanted with any kind of flower-infused dessert, much less with candied flowers - but I'm having a terrible time finding edible lilac blossoms, even from online shops! Is there a possible substitute, such as cherry blossoms or violets?

    Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen, if you don't have lilacs near you, you can certainly use violets, this candying recipe works for most edible flowers. I've never eaten cherry blossoms but they are edible, maybe worth a try!

      Delete
  2. What a beautiful song to listen to while watching your magic AUBE! Such a work of art, yet again. I was wondering how you got the lilacs so early this year! I mean, this is the earliest Spring since the late 80's in Edmonton, but I was aghast until I read...
    Anyway, I have candied lilacs, and enjoyed working with them. Made a jelly which was a lot like a lilac honey in flavour and texture... and ice cream - and these tarts look phenomenal.
    Do you know of any violets that taste like the French violette? I candy or sugar the Black Bowles as it is so gorgeous, but there is no flavour and I am nuts about that French violette flavour....
    Thanks for the edification.
    Hugs,
    Valerie
    Oh - Have heard Jane speak. She moves me, deeply, too. What an incredible opportunity and I cannot wait to hear about the GMO project!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Valerie! Lilac ice cream must be phenomenal, what a great idea! I'm not sure about the violets, I just know the little wild purple and white ones but I've never found they have much flavor... do you know the book "Cooking With Flowers"? It's really wonderful :-) xox

      Delete
  3. This is such favorite blog looking too much option for food lovers, visit here.chowringhee satya niketan menu

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meeting Jane Goodall! What an experience. She is my kind of rock star. People who make a difference in the world. Who help people, bring joy to their life or help the world in some way. Those are the people who have my utmost respect and admiration. Frankly, I think we are all capable of it too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Went to this Same Day Flower Delivery after looking at their beautiful customized/pre-made bouquets! I told her I love lighter colored flowers. She nodded and went to her storage room. A few minutes later, she came back with 3 pretty pink roses and small white flowers in her hand.

    ReplyDelete