Sunday, April 25, 2010

Elderberry Flower Syrup and a cake

Spring Water Farm had bunches of Elderberry Flowers at the Hillsdale Farmers Market today. I bought three bunches. One bunch would be dedicated to a cornmeal cake I had learned about over the winter at Ayers Creek Farm. With the other two bunches, I'd make a batch of Elderberry Flower syrup to flavor soda and gin drinks with and brush warm cakes with.

The cake is a dense traditional cornmeal cake that China Tresemer made over the winter while we were working with various corn recipes at Ayers Creek Farm. I learned from Anthony that it is an old recipe from when corn slowly moved it's way across Europe replacing millet in fields and kitchens. The recipe asks for six spoons of Elderberry Flower blossoms. The delicate citrus scent and earthy undertones transform the whole cornmeal giving the cake a unique flavor. There were no Elderberry Blossoms at the time we made the cake, so we used dried Pozegaca plums to great effect. Still, curiosity lingers now that the flowers are in season.

The Elderberry Flower Syrup will take a few days of sitting quietly on the stove top. Equal amounts of sugar and water (4 & 4), the zest and juice of two lemons, and about a cup and a half of Elderberry Flowers. Bring the sugar syrup, lemon juice and zest to a boil, pour it over the Elderberry Flowers and let sit for 3-4 days. Then strain and store in the refrigerator.

The first time I had Elderberry Flower syrup was with my friend Cecilia. She had brought some back from Romania in a odd "package". In Central Europe, Elderberry Flower syrup is common. So common, that FANTA, until recently, flavored one of it's drinks with Elderberry Flower syrup. Now it is hard to find. Central European soft drinks are much less sweet than the ones in the United States, so the Elderberry Flower scent is notable.

The cake is out of the oven. I've robbed the syrup pot before it's time and soaked the cake with a little more springtime Elderberry Flower essence.