Wednesday, June 16, 2010
We celebrated the annual SHIRKEY ELDERFLOWER FESTIVAL Sunday.
My mother would gather elderflowers and we would all gather for the once-yearly delight of fried elderflowers. Since Mother's death, we carry on the tradition. In the past, some people have turned down our invitations, but as Norman states, "Once they taste them, they'll always return!" The taste IS unique and the heavenly aroma of the flowers is a truly exquisite gourmet experience.
It is Norman's job to be the forager and only he can be entrusted to pick the suitable elderflowers. As the day of the event approaches, Norman will have scouted the insecticide-free zones for days and will give a daily report and finally, the eagerly anticipated call will be received: "They're ready!" Then I spring into action to make the calls to tell the devotees that not only are the elderflowers ripe but the time is also ripe! I had already stockpiled oil, confectioners' sugar, orange juice, and paper towels. I chose our scarlet Fiesta plates to dramatize the presentation!
Norman brought the elderflowers to me and I washed them and selected the choice flowers to fry.
Gerald and I bustled around the kitchen, with my frying and his sugaring. [Last year my brother Roger made the mistake of complaining that his TENTH elderflower did not have enough powdered sugar. Norman grabbed it and in his best SOUP NAZI voice declared, "No more for you!"]
My friend Lori said that elderflowers should be served in restaurants, but I told her that, sadly, the elderflower season lasts just a few days.
GLADYS' ELDERFLOWER RECIPE:
Wash elderflowers and place on towel to dry. Heat oil to 375 degrees. With the stem of the elderflower, dip flower into batter until coated. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Sprinkle fried elderflower with orange juice and then top with generous portion of powdered sugar. Serve piping hot. Eat all except for the stem!
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 cups flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups milk
Beat mixture until smooth.
This recipe makes approximately 24 elderflowers, depending on the size of the elderflowers.