Elderflower 101: Here's 9 Easy Ways To Use Fresh Elderflower In The Kitchen

·3-min read
Photo credit:                                      - Getty Images
Photo credit: - Getty Images

The spray of pretty blossoms that grow on Elderberry trees in the summer are called elderflowers. They’re a creamy, yellowy colour and have a gentle floral fragrance that smells faintly sweet, almost like vanilla.

Commonly used to make commercial elderflower cordial, this aromatic squash makes for a refreshing drink and a fragrant ingredient in alcoholic cocktails. Its versatility means it can also be used as a flavouring in sweet custards, cream fillings, compotes and ice lollies. Here are some ideas on how to use elderflower in your cooking:

Make elderflower cordial

To make elderflower cordial, collect fresh elderflower blossoms on a dry day and remove any dust, grit or bugs from the petals. Infuse them in a homemade sugar syrup mixed with lemon zest and citric acid before steeping for a couple of days. Add water to transform the syrup into a soft drink or try adding it neat to your favourite cocktail, like a Lemon Drizzle Margarita or Sangria.

Combine into custards

Incorporate elderflower syrup into the base for ice creams, custards and panna cotta to lend them a sweet floral note. An infused custard can be piped into doughnuts, sandwiched between layers of buttery pastry in a millefeuille, poured into tart shells or folded into whipped cream to be piled high on top of pavlovas and meringue nests.

Drizzle over a hot cake

Prick a just-baked cake with a skewer before drizzling elderflower syrup over it. The warmth of the cake will encourage the sugary goodness to absorb right down to the bottom, guaranteeing it stays moist and flavourful.

Photo credit: Janna Danilova - Getty Images
Photo credit: Janna Danilova - Getty Images

Infuse in sugar

Place a clean blossom of elderflower in a jar of caster sugar to gently infuse it with a subtle floral fragrance. Much like vanilla sugar, elderflower sugar can be used in a variety of bakes with ease, such as crumbly shortbreads, fruity summertime cakes and blind-baked pastry cases used for zingy tart fillings. Why not combine it in a syllabub, mousse or posset and drizzle over some concentrated cordial for a final flourish?

Elderflower-scented icing sugar makes for a delicate, toothsome dusting over beignets and churros as well as a fragrant doughnut glaze when combined with a dash of milk.

Steep in vinegars and honey

Infuse your favourite bottle of vinegar or jar of honey with a sprig of elderflower and use them in salad dressings and glazes to lend your side dishes and marinades a floral flavour profile.

Flavour a fruit leather

Make elderflower fruit leather when you have a glut of ripe fruit to use up over the summer by adding a dash of cordial to a puree of raspberries, strawberries, mangoes or apples before spreading it out over a baking sheet and placing in a low oven.

Deep fry in a light batter

Coat blossoms of clean elderflower in a light tempura batter and deep fry in the same way as you would prepare courgette flowers. Sprinkle with icing sugar for an ethereal, powdery treat or drizzle over a savoury sauce made with soy, chilli and marinated garlic for a lip-smacking, crunchy snack.

Photo credit: ANI HOBEL - Getty Images
Photo credit: ANI HOBEL - Getty Images

Bring it to breakfast

Mix elderflower syrup into your favourite fruit compote to serve alongside ice cream, rice pudding or custard. Spoon a little over a stack of American pancakes or pile onto your bowl of porridge for a scrumptious breakfast or brunch.

Glow up your granita and ice lollies

Pop raspberries, blackberries or slices of kiwi in ice lolly moulds and pour in elderflower cordial before freezing to make fruity summer ice pops for kids. While you’re freezer bound, make boozy elderflower granita for the grown-ups.