Made with freshly foraged elderflower heads, these elderflower fritters carry unique taste, scent, and medicinal benefits of elderflower.
With May come all the blossoms and scents that make one feel all fuzzy. This is the month when we avoid visits to butcher shops and go harvest in nature instead.
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What are elderflower fritters?
Elderflower fritters are fried elderflowers. The fresh elderflower heads are dipped in batter and fried nicely in butter until golden and crispy. They should stay crispy not just right after frying, but even an hour later. Moreover, they should also look fluffy. The great thing about fried elderflowers is that you can turn them savory or sweet thus serving them either as a starter, dessert, or a main curse with potatoes and salad.
What are elderflowers?
Elderflowers are flowers of Elder - Sambucus Nigra, the same plant that elderberries come from. Elderflowers bloom from late spring to early summer with large umbels of small white flowers. Their creamy color and distinguished scents are very typical.
Elderflowers are perhaps the most common flowers that we take into the kitchen, not for decoration in a vase, but as an important part of the food on the plate. When they start to bloom we know that summer will be here soon. I enjoy this part of the year when I start to make elderflower cordial, elderflower ice cream, and liqueur. Last year I also made this elderflower yogurt as well as marshmallow fluff.
How elderflower tastes like?
Yes, I am a little bit obsessed with elderflowers as I found their taste and scent very unique.
Elderflower blossoms have a rather sweet, floral taste with a hint of fruit that is hard to identify. Some people describe it as pears, others as lychees or other tropical fruits. Not all elderflowers taste the same, though.
I found this recipe in an old Czech cooking book but I am not sure the Czechs were the first to discover this delicacy. In the same way like people in the Czech fry elderflowers or dandelions, Italians fry zucchini flowers or Germans eat fried acacia flowers.
Tips to get the best elderflower fritters
The secret to crunchy elderflower fritters is in the frying batter specifically its density.
There is a whole science behind the correct choice and preparation of the batter.
It is not only mixing together flour, eggs, and milk and dipping the flowers in it. If you aim to have perfectly crunchy and tasty elderflower blossoms there are few things that make a difference.
- density of the batter
The batter must be thick enough to cover the entire surface of the elderflowers and not run away. In the old Czech recipe is said that when you drip a drop of batter onto an upturned spoon, this drop should remain nicely bulging and about half an inch high.
On the other hand, the batter must not be too thick, otherwise, fried elderflowers become spongy and stiff when you fry them.
Ideally, such a batter for dipping looks like thick cream or pancake batter.
- fat in the batter
Although it doesn't seem like it at first glance, fat is also an important part of dipping batters.
If you add too little, the batter will be like rubber, and if you add too much, the batter will get crispy but too oily.
In this recipe, I used whipped cream that works as fat.
prepare the batter at the last minute just before frying. If you leave it to stand anywhere for some time it will deteriorate and lose its taste, quality, and crispness.
- whipping the batter
There are many recipes that simply mix the ingredients with a whisk. As per the old recipe book, I found this recipe in they call for a whip.
Thus getting your hand mixer ready will make a difference in this recipe.
- Fry them fast
The longer you let the delicate elderflower blossoms stay in the hot oil, the less you will find on your plate. Their essence is simply lost in the heat and disappears.
So, fry fast, as soon as the batter turns golden.
Depending on your stove one elderflower may be ready in just 20-30 seconds.
- don’t turn them
Elderflowers have one great advantage, the stem. It can serve as a handy handle. You need to fry them from one side only, no need to turn them over. Place them in the oil with the stem up not otherwise.
You will need the following ingredients:
1 cup (250 ml) cream
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
30 fresh elderflower blossoms
½ cup (60 g) of plain flour (or almond flour for gluten-free version)
½ cup (100-150 ml) milk or almond milk
2 cups (500-800 ml) frying oil
Icing sugar for serving
Do not wash the flowers, they carry the pollen that is a carrier of their unique taste. Just shake off the bugs and cut the stem to about 5 cm so that you can hold the blossoms comfortably.
Whip the egg whites into soft snow. Whip the cream until semi-soft, do not let it set completely. Set aside one third of the whipped cream to use for serving.
Gradually beat the egg yolks into the remaining whipped cream one at a time, add cinnamon, the egg white snow, and finally fold in the flour with a whisk.
Add the milk until the batter resembles thick cream. At first, add only 100 ml of milk, try frying one or two flowers with this batter, and then, if necessary, thin it a little more if the test flowers are too plump and coated with batter.
Pour the oil into a smaller pot, as you would need considerably more oil in a larger one. It should be at least 3 cm in height and should fit just one flower. Heat the oil well - after heating it for a while, try dripping a little of the batter into it. It should immediately bubble and float on the surface, and should turn golden in a few seconds if the oil is already hot enough.
Take the first elderflower blossom, grab it by the stem and dip it into the batter. There is no need to be extra consistent, one or two dips will do and immediately place in the oil, stem up. Pull the stem a few times and lift the elderflower blossom out of the oil once or twice, this will spread the umbels nicely wide and fry evenly.
Fry for 20-30 seconds, no more. The blossoms should turn golden in this time. If they don't, heat the stove more. Do not turn the fried flower, but remove immediately to a plate lined with a paper towel. Continue until you have used up all the flowers or all the batter.
How to serve these elderflower fritters?
Serve sprinkled with icing sugar and whipped cream to dip in.
As a savory dish with potatoes and green salad.
Alternatively with rice and a blend of soy sauce and lemon.