One of the joys of summer is seeing all the beautiful blooms burst into colour around the garden, especially the varieties that are edible. I absolutely love violas and if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, then you will have seen me use the cheerful little blossoms on my cakes. They are such a perfect size and hold their shape really well, plus there are so many colour variations that they are a treat to use.
I also use herbs in my cakes and on top to add texture or flavour; lemon and thyme are a great combination!
If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend giving it a go and growing some next year, but if you don’t have any outdoor space you can still have fun with edible flowers as lots of companies sell them online. I grow my violas in the garden, and never use any chemical pesticides or sprays on them so that they are safe to eat.
It is also key to point out, not all flowers are edible! You can easily find out the varieties that are, by looking them up online or chatting to your local garden centre – best to be safe.
As summer rolls on, some of the edible flowers are starting to go past their best, so this week I was keen to find different ways to make the most of them and first up was to crystallise them and use as a decoration on biscuits.
I used a simple vanilla biscuit recipe and cut them out in three different sizes for a bit of variety, but you can use any flavour or shape you fancy.
Whilst the biscuits were baking I got on with crystallising the violas. The reason I crystallise the flowers is so that they last longer, a fresh viola will shrivel up and lose its shape after a few hours, but if it’s crystallised it will stay fresh for much longer.
All you need to do is whisk up the white of one egg until you have an airy light foam, then, using a clean paintbrush, ‘paint’ the foam all over the delicate flower – covering every bit.
Once your flowers are coated with the egg white, you then lightly sprinkle over caster sugar, until the flower is encrusted and covered. Leave them to dry, ideally overnight. If you’re not using them straight away then pop them into an airtight box and they should keep for about a week.
To finish the biscuits off, I covered them with white fondant icing and brushed on a little natural food colouring in pink. I gently pressed on the violas and as the fondant was soft, the flowers held in place. If you find them starting to lift then just brush a tiny amount of water underneath and that will help.
I still had some violas and mint leaves left over so I preserved them in a different way…
I popped them into an ice cube tray and topped them up with water, they will make any cool summer drink look a little more elegant.
I hope you all have a lovely flowery weekend, whether it’s eating them or admiring them in the garden – either way it is capturing a bit of summer.