I have been looking forward to lilac season and now that it is full upon us, it is time to remind readers of this wonderful flower and its uses for culinary purposes. They will not last for long, but if picked while fresh they can be preserved in several ways to be used all year. It takes some patience to pick off the flowers, but a little goes a long way. The flavour is unmistakably lilac, but less strong than would you expect given their powerful aroma. Different varieties will give different flavours, but all can be used in these recipes.
Here are the ways I have already preserved them:
- lilac syrup which can be used to flavour drinks, in baking and desserts
- lilac sugar, made by blending lilac blossoms and sugar in equal parts by volume, used to flavour cakes, biscuits, and desserts
- lilac extract, made as you would vanilla extract. To make a quick version, I used the Instant Pot, loosely filling a mason jar with blossoms and filling it with vodka, then processed it for one hour on high heat. Good for flavouring whipped cream, drinks and desserts.
So far I have only managed to make one recipe with these, but wanted to get this post out before it is too late. I made my usual recipe for meringues for a pavlova of sorts. The lilac sugar had not had time to dry sufficiently, so the meringue was a little more browned and chewy than it should be, but good nonetheless.
For the Meringue
3 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
2 tsp. cornstarch
3/4 cups lilac sugar
Beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until almost stiff. Add the sugar mixed with the cornstarch and continue to beat until stiff. Spoon them onto a parchment lined baking tin and make a small depression in the middle. Put them in a preheated 275 F oven and reduce it to 250 F. Bake them for about 50 minutes until they are dry and firm. Turn off the oven and allow them to cool in the oven. Makes 8 medium meringues.
Once cool, fill with whipped cream and serve with seasonal fruit. I used about 1 tsp. of lilac extract in the cream, and for wont of fresh fruit I used some wild grape and lavender preserves.Related posts: Lilac Fizz; Lilac Ice Cream
Linked to Fiesta Friday #225, Antonia at Zoale.com