Monday, April 12, 2010

Candied Violets—tasting the fragrance of spring

IMG_4171 The Goddess Flora has been giving me many little presents the past few days. Today, I stepped out on my back porch and discovered the most delicate little wild violets. Time to make candied violets, one of my spring rituals. Violets remind me of my beloved grandmother, who I still miss daily. Her backyard cobbled courtyard was always full of little wild violets which sprung up in the mortar between the slate stones. It drove her nuts to have them thIMG_4177ere, and she often paid me to hang out and weed the stones for her when I was growing up, but I know she also loved them.
I love having candied flowers on hand for impromptu parties when I need to create a beautiful cocktail or for decorating cakes. First, I found the most gorgeous, perfect specimens available, which is sometimes difficult, as you can see; they often hide in the grass. Then I harvest them and wash them very  carefully to avoid bruising their tender petals. On the left you can see part of my IMG_4231lovely harvest.IMG_4247
After they have drained significantly in the colander, I place them on a paper towel to dry completely. I then heat one part water and two parts sugar (proportionate to the amount of harvested violets) in a saucepan, add some rosewater and almond extract (to emulate the flavor of the more fragrant European violet) and then let that cool to room temperature. I dip each violet in this liquid  sugar—carefully, with tweezers--and set it on a flat surface to dry completely. You can make candied violets with egg whites, but I don’t.
IMG_4333IMG_4255These keep for quite a while—probably a few months, but I bet you won’t have to worry about that; I usually use all mine up in a matter of days one way or another.




Borsari Violetta di Parma
Floralia Cocktail

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