Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Delicious and crispy elderflower fritters
We're in the mood for fritters over here - which is weird, considering the heat-wave we've been having for the umpteenth day now. Last Friday I made deep-fried crispy stuffed courgette flowers, few days before that we all enjoyed these delicious elderflower fritters.
Elderflower as such is not new to Nami-Nami household. I've been using elderflower cordial to lend some floral notes and delicate flavour to a number of dishes - cold buttermilk soup 'koldskål', quick elderflower mousse, elderflower curd, strawberries with elderflower zabaglione, to name just a few that have made it to this food blog. We've been drinking elderflower fizz at home a lot. But I've always used a shop-bought cordial, as we didn't have an elderflower (Sambucus nigra) bush growing in our garden (they grow wild pretty much only on the Western isles). Two years ago, when we had to finalize the list of plants we wanted to have in our garden, elderflower was at the top of the list (alongside a proper quince tree and an Egremont Russet apple tree). Last year the elderflower was still too young to bear any blossoms, but this year was different.
When I first spotted this tiny promise back in late June, I was very, very excited, to say the least:
Some patience was needed, but eventually our black elder gave us these:
Like with all other fritters and donuts, these are best right after frying, doused with plenty of icing/confectioner's sugar that you can season with some vanilla powder or ground cinnamon.
Crispy elderflower fritters
Makes about 20-30 small fritters, enough for 5-6 hungry eaters
about 20-30 small elderflower clusters
200 g plain flour (330 ml)
a pinch of salt
1 large egg
300 ml soda water or light beer or milk
a generous splash of grappa, Limoncello or rum
mild-tasting oil for deep-frying (I used rapeseed oil)
icing sugar/confectioner's sugar to serve
Sift the flour into a bowl, add salt and mix. Make a hole in the middle, break the egg into the hole. Whisk until combined, adding the liquid (water, beer or milk) gradually and finally mixing in the alcohol. Put into the fridge for about half an hour.
Meanwhile, clean the elderflower clusters from various critters and bugs (if you cannot see any, you can place the flowers into the freezer for 10 minutes or so - apparently this "scares" them out. To keep as much of the precious pollen, it's advisable not to rinse the blossoms). Cut the stem end as short as possible.
Heat about 4-5 cm (about 2 inches) of oil in a small saucepan. The temperature is about right when a little peeled potato cube or bread cube begins to sizzle and turns into nice golden brown when you drop it into the oil.
Now, working with couple of elderflowers at the time, dip them into the batter, then lower them into hot oil. Fry for about 2-3 minutes, then gently turn them over and let them brown on the other side as well. (I loved how they puffed up so nicely when lowered into the hot oil).
Using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a double layer of kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil.
Fry the rest of the batter-dipped elderflower blossoms in a similar fashion.
Dust with plenty of icing sugar/confectioner's sugar that you can season with vanilla powder or cinnamon first.