If you would like to make these fritters, gather the elderflowers as soon as you can. They are a delicately scented treat with an aroma of late spring, but the flowers are definitely at their best NOW, whilst the blossom is just coming into flower.
Once dipped, fry in small batches and serve, warm from the pan, with a dredge of vanilla infused sugar and a wedge of lemon. Or plan ahead and assemble the ingredients so that you can prepare them at the last moment and enjoy alongside a gooseberry fool or to garnish a refreshing sorbet.
For my recipe, to serve two for a treat or make a small garnish for 8-12 puddings, you will need…
Eight large elderflowers that are just coming into full bloom. I tend to snip the whole flower head from the plant and give it a good shake to remove any insects.
Oil to deep fry.
50 g (2 oz) rice flour
50 g (2 oz) cornflour
2 tablespoons ground nut oil
175 ml (6 fl oz) soda water
Half a tablespoon vanilla infused caster sugar, plus extra for serving
One free range egg white
Make the batter and allow this to stand for at least 30 minutes before dipping and frying your fritters.
Sieve the cornflour and rice flour together in a bowl, add sugar and ground nut oil.
Pour soda water into the bowl and mix everything together until it is all combined and no lumps remain. Cover and set timer for 30 minutes.
Prepare the flowers by ensuring no insects remain inside the petals. Wash in cold water if you feel this is necessary and dry on a clean tea towel. Snip each flower umbel so that you have small bite size stalks from each head of elderflower.
Lightly whisk the egg white to soft peaks, remove a third with a large metal spoon and mix into the batter, then gently fold the remaining two thirds of egg white into the batter.
Fill a small but deep saucepan so that it is a third full of sunflower or ground nut oil. Preheat the oil and then check the temperature using a cube of bread, added to the hot oil. Once it cooks to a golden brown within a minute, you have reached the correct heat. Adjust temperature as necessary.
Hold each flower by the stalk and dip into the batter to coat the petals only. Shake the flower head to remove any excess batter and then carefully drop into the hot oil (or use tongs). Allow the fritter to cook for a few moments so that it puffs up and turns light golden, then using tongs turn it over to cook completely. Remove with the tongs and drain. Quickly cook the remaining fritters in batches and serve sprinkled with a little extra caster sugar whilst still crisp and warm.