More on Elderflowers……..
Brunyfire has been looking for an excuse to use some of her latest Bruny inspired double walled jelly mould pots – made from slip cast porcelain with a locally sourced iron clay slip from Great Bay. Originally designed for making jellies, these pots have already been used for pates and more lately, pannacotta.The pots were made in my Mount Nelson studio a while ago, and were designed with a double wall – that is, hollow inside with a hole in the underside base of the pot.
As elderflowers have such a short season – the beautiful flowers of Sambucus nigra have been raining down on me like snow as I picked the latest batch – I wanted to try as many variations in their use as possible and was particularly intrigued with the idea of making pannacotta.
Italian for “cooked cream” pannacotta is a light, silky eggless custard, bound with gelatin unlike the British version – a blancmange – that is set with corn flour. (Check out Felicity Cloake’s amusing blog article in the Guardian).
The following pannacotta recipe is from a combination by various authors, that I felt, best fitted the use of elderflower’s delicate flavour.
- 600 ml double cream (or 400 ml cream + 200 ml full cream milk)
- 4 sheets of gelatine
- 3-4 large elderflower heads
- 50g caster sugar
- 50 ml eau de vie (fruit brandy or use your previously made elderflower gin – eau de vie – a French expression meaning ‘water of life’ is a distilled beverage made from fruit other than grapes) or 1/2 cup of elderflower cordial).
Having already made cordial by taking 20 flower heads, tossed into a sugar syrup of 1.8 kg of caster sugar + 1.2 litres of water (heated till sugar has dissolved) + pared zest and slices of a couple of lemons and 75gms of citric acid – cover contents of this mix with a cloth and leave at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain the cordial through muslin and pour into sterilized glass bottles……But back to the pannacotta.
Bring the cream and sugar to a gentle simmer (don’t boil). (Note: instead of the cordial, try tying up the elderflower heads in a piece of muslin and adding to the pan. Take off the heat and cover the pan to infuse for about 30 minutes then remove elderflowers).
Soak gelatine leaves in cold water until soft lift out and add to warm cream. Add elderflower cordial, pour the mixture into individual moulds and put in the fridge for about four hours until set.
Instead of dipping each mould into hot water for a few seconds and then turning out the pannacotta onto individual plates, a little warm water was poured into the upturned mould (the blue version!) – then tipped out before shaking the pud out onto the plate.Garnish with spare flower heads.There are hundreds of different elderflower recipes out there in blog world all capturing the essence of summer – check them out, but best of all – go get your own flowers before it’s too late…………