Last weekend I was lucky enough to collaborate with Amy, the amazingly talented florist behind Luna Moss, on an edible flower photoshoot. We met at the Kinfolk event I hosted this past May and got to talking about flowers, and it blossomed (pun intended) into a wonderful afternoon spent baking, arranging, and snapping photos. The only issue was the heat...it was about 98 degrees in my neighborhood at the time, which is not very cut flower-friendly. But Amy stationed all the blossoms in front of the AC unit in my living room and they stayed looking pretty spright up until the evening. Hurray!!! Before the recipes begin I have a series of photos of the beautiful arrangements Amy made throughout the afternoon. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did :)
As for the recipes, we decided to make creamy rose popsicles, a cornflower cocktail, and candied pansy and viola mini-pavlovas. Out of all three recipes, the creamy rose popsicles were my favorite, but the other two were delicious in their own right. I think I was just able to taste the rose the most compared to the other two blossoms, and it paired wonderfully with the sweet honey and creamy evaporated milk. Pansies and violas taste kind of like mild greens if you have them on their own, but when you have them candied, the sugar masks the "green" flavor of the flowers and just makes them taste very, very sweet. The cornflowers (everyone's favorite crayola shade) had a mildly sweet and herbal flavor to them, it was a very light flavor that worked well for such a beautiful flower. Seriously, I could not get over the color and texture of these guys. Their petals are so soft and fluffy and light, they would make for great rapidly biodegradable wedding tossers to use instead of rice.
Thank you Luna Moss for the beautiful arrangements!
1/2 cup honey
12 ounces evaporated milk
petals from 3 organic roses
To make the creamed rose & honey popsicles, place the rose petals in a large bowl and set aside. Bring the honey and the evaporated milk to a boil in a medium-sized pot over medium-high heat. Pour the boiling hot mixture into the bowl over the rose petals.
Allow the mixture to steep until it cools to room temperature. Pour the mixture into a blender and blend at high speed for 30 seconds. Pour into popsicle moulds with popsicle sticks and allow to freeze overnight. Makes about 8 popsicles.
The Cornflower Kickback
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup organic cornflower petals (not compressed)
4 shots gin
1 cup sparkling water
1/2 cup pear nectar
a few whole cornflowers for garnish
To make the cornflower kickback, bring the sugar, water, and cornflower petals to a gentle boil in a small thick-bottomed saucepan over medium heat, then reduce heat to low. Allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, then remove from heat and allow to cool for 2 hours.
Strain the cornflower petals out of the syrup and reserve the syrup. Pour 3 tablespoons of the syrup, 2 shots of gin, 1/2 cup of sparkling water, and 1/4 cup pear nectar into a cocktail glass and stir until blended. Repeat this process with another cocktail glass. Garnish each with a cornflower bud and serve.
Candied Pansy & Viola Miniature Pavlovas
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 egg white, lightly whisked
2 dozen organic pansies
2 dozen organic violas
6 egg whites
2 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon corn starch
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
2 cups whipped cream
pastry bag fitted with large open-star tip (optional)
To make the candied pansy & viola miniature pavlovas, start by candying the flowers. Lightly brush the petals of a flower with the egg whites. Sprinkle the superfine sugar over the flower until coated. Place on a wire rack to dry. Repeat this process until all of the flowers are candied. Allow to dry for 1 hour, or until the flowers feel crisp when poked.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, beat the 6 egg whites and salt until they begin to stiffen but aren't dry. Gradually beat in the granulated sugar, about 1/4 cup at a time. Continue beating on high speed until the egg whites are shiny and thick, then fold in the vanilla extract and the corn starch.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Now, you can either use a spatula to simply spread the meringue into small 4-inch discs, or you can do it with a pastry bag to create the spiral pattern. To do it with the pastry bag, scoop the meringue into a pastry bag fitted with the open-star tip and fold the top several times. Secure the folded top in place with a small clip. Starting at the outside edge, spiral your way towards the center as you apply pressure to the bag to make a 4-inch in diameter spiral. Repeat this until you have used all of the meringue. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 40 minutes.
Turn off the oven and leave the door ajar to allow the pavlovas to cool slowly (this prevents cracking). Once cooled, remove the tray from the oven. To assemble, place the pavlova on the serving surface and spread a dollop of whipped cream on top of it. Place several of the candied pansies and violas on top of the cream and serve.