The weather has been absolutely beautiful where I live, and I’ve been trying to go on many walks and soak up every last drop of it. I did manage to squeeze in some time in the kitchen though. Last night I made a delicious apple dessert because I had a lot of apples to use up. I love love love cooking with apples, and this time just tossed them with some sweet spices and sugar, and was tragically out of butter, so I topped them with my emergency pie crust and some oats, and baked it in a 8 x 11 inch baking dish. Nothing fancy, this was definitely one of those times when taste mattered more than presentation.
The main feature of this post is what I got up to yesterday afternoon. On my walks I often stumble upon lilacs, and they may very well be my favourite flower. There is just something so intoxicating in their scent that always leaves me wanting more. The season for lilacs is at a close, and I thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could preserve this lovely scent somehow and didn’t have to say goodbye so soon?” Then it came to me: Candied Lilacs! I have long been aching to make candied violets ever since I heard of their existence. I find the idea of candied flowers to be perfectly enchanting, and so I researched how they are done and set to work. Candied lilacs can be used as cheery little decorations on cakes and many other types of baked goods, or just eaten alone for fun. This was the end result:
1 lilac blossom
1 egg white
1 tsp. water
Gently pluck out the tiny flowers that form your lilac blossom until they are no longer attached in a cluster but are individual flowers ready to be candied. They should come out quite easily, just pull outwards from the centre. Beat together the egg white with the teaspoon of water. Carefully dip a flower into this mixture, and then hold it over a dish and sprinkle sugar over it until evenly coated. Some might want to use a small paint brush to apply the egg white, but I didn’t find this was necessary. Lay to dry on a piece of wax paper laid on top of a baking sheet. Repeat this process until you have all the candied lilacs you desire. Let these stand uncovered for at least 24 hours or until dry.
I was paranoid that the weather was too humid for air drying so I put mine in the oven at 180 degrees F for 5 minutes, turned it off, and then left them in there to make sure they would dry properly. If you do this, be sure not to overheat your flowers or it can affect the flavour. I also read that you can leave them in your oven overnight with just the pilot light on. But whatever you do, don’t do what I did and forget they’re in there and turn your oven on to 450 degrees for a roast… Luckily I got them out in time and they still taste like lilac scented breezes melting on my tongue. Thank goodness for that! I am glad I can carry these little tokens of spring with me throughout the year. When stored in an airtight container, I’ve read they can last up to year. I guess I’ll find out!
(Sorry the pictures aren’t the best quality, unfortunately my camera stopped working yesterday so I have to take pictures using my phone until I figure that out. Even though it’s old, I’ve barely used it, and thought it was in good condition, so it’s a bit of a mystery)
Did you know that there is a Sugar Plum Fairy lilac bush?