My twelve year old daughter and I had great fun making edible crystallised flowers for Easter today. All you need is an egg white, a paintbrush, castor sugar, spring blooms and a bit of sunshine. Many flowers are edible, like the ones I picked in our garden this morning – primroses, violets, apple blossom, cherry blossom, tiny rosemary flowers and even tulip petals. However, a few flowers are poisonous, like Lily of the Valley, so look them up on the internet to check before you start. I found out how to crystallise them from Jan Billington who grows edible flowers commercially (www.MaddocksFarmOrganics.co.uk) when I met her on a photo shoot for the Toby Buckland Garden Festival at Powderham Castle (this May 2nd & 3rd).
1. Pick your flowers. 2. Lightly beat the white of an egg and place it in a cup. 3. Measure out half a cup of castor sugar (Jan recommends you blitz it in a food processor to create a finer texture). 4. Line a baking tray with parchment or wax paper.
Shake off the excess and lay it on the baking parchment. Leave them somewhere dry and warm. We put ours in the sun as Dartmoor sunlight in May is not too scorchy! After two hours the flowers were crisp, but they may need to dry over-night depending on heat and humidity. Once they’re dry you can repeat the process to make a more robust sugared flower or just leave them as delicate blossoms that melt away in the mouth in a floral instant.
Our family traditionally make Easter Bonnet Biscuits at this time of year so we used them to decorate the little hats, but the flowers would make a perfect finishing touch to holiday cupcakes, or home-made chocolates. The bonnets however, never last long as they’re wolfed down by my gang in a blur!