Elderflowers are a fantastic resource for the forager. Cordial, wine, champagne are all well-known, fritters slightly less so – but here is a completely new take, based on a John Wright recipe . . .
25 Elderflower heads
20g Leaf gelatine
2 Lemons, limes or oranges
650g Castor sugar
Icing sugar and cornflour
Ideally gather the elderflowers, still dusty with yellow pollen, on a warm dry day. Separate the flowers from the bitter stems with a fork or scissors and tie securely in a piece of muslin with the zest of the fruit. Meanwhile, soften the leaf gelatine in a little cold water. Warm 300ml of water in a pan, add the juice of the citrus fruit, and the castor sugar. Stir over the heat until all the sugar has dissolved, then allow to cool. As it does, mix a smooth paste using 100ml water with 100g cornflour. Stir this thin paste into the pan of cooling syrup. Add the softened gelatine (squeeze this to get rid of the excess water) and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved.
Whilst your mixture is cooling, create a smooth paste using 100ml of water and 100g of cornflower. Add this to the mix in the pan, return to the heat, squeeze any excess water from the gelatine, add to the pan and whisk until it has dissolved. Add the elderflower bag and slowly bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring all the time to ensure it doesn’t stick and pressing the bag regularly to squeeze out the flavours from the elderflowers.
Eventually the mixture will clarify and become gloopy. Remove from the heat and allow to cool while you mix equal quantities of cornflour and icing sugar. Line a shallow baking tin (approx 20cm square) with baking parchment, dust with the mix. Remove the muslin bag, squeezing and scraping to extract as much flavour as possible, then spoon into the baking tray. Allow it to cool to roughly room temperature, then leave to set in the fridge overnight. Next morning, peel off the baking paper, cut into squares using a knife or kitchen scissors and dust with the cornflour/icing sugar mix.
Store an airtight container in a cool, dry, place.