I realised that I had been spending too much time simply providing you with identification guides and seasonal information.. As much as I love to write about that I have been neglecting my real passion, cooking Wild Food! I don’t just like to cook Wild Food I like to show it off! The seasons are so short and the food so precious that you need to make an event of each ingredient, so here is a real show off pudding, Sweet Violet Creams with Crystallised Sweet Violet Flowers!!
There are two elements to this pudding the Cream and the crystallised flowers. Although very simple to make the crystallised flowers do take a little longer so we’ll start with them.
Crystallised Sweet Violet Flowers
1 x Egg
First of all make sure that you have picked the flowers with the stem still attached, this will make for a perfect little handle in the next process. Separate an egg and beat the white we won’t be needing the yoke so why don’t you make you home made pasta a little richer!! Now in a separate bowl we are going to need some granulated sugar, as small a grain as possible. Simply dip the flowers into the beaten egg white and then dust them with the sugar. Make sure that you cover the whole flower in sugar as this is the preservative – every part of the flower must be covered in order to make the flowers last! Turn on your oven (lowest heat possible) and place the flowers on a lined tray (grease proof paper) to dry. Leave the door open as the flowers really are delicate keeping an eye on them, when dry remove from the oven. Alternatively and if you have time you can leave the uncooked flowers in a dry place for two or three days this process although much more time consuming actually gives you better results as the flowers retain more of their colour. When completely dry you can store them in an air tight container in the fridge.
Sweet Violet Scented Creams
1 x Litre Full Fat Milk
4 tbsp Rice Flour
2 tbsp Ground Almonds
4 tbsp Sugar
Rind of two Oranges
Handful of toasted Pistachios (not salted)
Good Handful of Sweet Violet Flowers
To garnish: Crystallised Sweet Violets (as above)
This cream recipe is based on an Indian recipe that I use and incorporates the flavour of the flowers beautifully.
Simply mix the rice flour and ground almonds with about ¼ of the milk, you are looking for a nice loose paste. Heat the remaining milk on the hob, when the milk starts to boil add the paste and heat for 10 minutes. Do not allow the mixture to boil and make sure that the mix doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan! Once 10 minutes have passed add the sugar and orange rind (reserving about a quarter of the Orange rind for decoration) and keep the mixture simmering until you have what resembles a custard. If the mix starts to thicken too much remove from the heat. Now loosely chop your Sweet Violets but not to finely just run a knife through them a few times. When the mixture has cooled off a little stir the flowers through the mix and then pour into a good sized serving bowl or 4 individual bowls and chill. Before serving sprinkle the top of the cream pudding with orange rind, the toasted, chopped pistachios and then decorate with the crystallised Sweet Violets.
Colourful, fragrant and absolutely delicious!
Sweet Violet Identification