Elderflower & Grapefruit Gin Tonic Sorbet

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I know it’s not sorbet weather yet but since I was testing the New Magimix Gelato expert, I thought of making my drink of choice at the moment into a sorbet. It is fresh and not overly sweet. The sweetness of the elderflower cordial balances the tartness of the grapefruit. This is great if you have a dinner party and don’t feel like baking a dessert.

This recipe makes about 1 litter of sorbet.

Ingredients:

100ml of water

150grs of granulated sugar

100ml of gin

500ml of tonic water

1 shot of elderflower cordial

Juice and zest of 1 large grapefruit (I used ruby red)

Decoration:

Edible flowers

Grapefruit slices

 

Place the water, sugar and grapefruit zest in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook while stirring until the sugar dissolves. Then transfer it to a bowl and allow it to cool to room temperature. Then place it in the fridge until it is cold.

Once the syrup is cold, pass it through a sieve and discard of the zest. Then add the elderflower cordial, tonic water, gin and the grapefruit juice. Mix well. Pour it into your ice cream machine and let it churn according to its instructions. I used the manual mode on the Magimix Gelato Expert, you can see my review by clicking here. It took about 40 minutes of churning and it was firm enough to be scooped right away.

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You can serve it with edible flowers and grapefruit slices. If you are not going to eat it right away, just store it in an air tight container in the freezer.

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Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Elderflower Frosting & Sugared Cranberries

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This carrot cake is always a winner when I have friends over or when I take it to house parties. It’s moist and so easy to make. This time I added some elderflower cordial to the frosting to add a floral tone. I love elderflower cordial and we always have a bottle in the house, even though we mostly use it for gin & tonics. If you like elderflower, you may also like this Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie.

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This recipe is for a small 19cm round cake mold. But you can easily double the recipe to make a larger cake.

Ingredients:

For the sugared cranberries:

2 cups of sugar

2 cups water

2 cups of fresh cranberries, washed and picked through

¾ cups of sugar

For the carrot cake:

1 cup of all-purpose flour

1 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups of shredded carrot

3/4 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

Zest of 1 mandarin

1 teaspoon of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of salt

For the cream cheese and elderflower frosting:

¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon of cream cheese at room temperature

3 tablespoons of butter, softened

3 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

2 cups of icing sugar

Extra:

Fresh mint leaves for decoration (optional)

 

 

Start by making the sugared cranberries the night before. Place 2 cups of water plus 2 cups of sugar in a medium saucepan and let it simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir from time to time. Once the simple syrup is done, transfer it to a bowl and let it cool for 20 minutes. You want to let it cool before you add the cranberries otherwise they may pop.

Once the syrup has cooled down, add the cranberries and stir to coat them. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in the fridge overnight.

The next morning, drain the cranberries. You can save the simple syrup for another recipe or for a cocktail. Place the ¾ cup of sugar on a shallow plate and start rolling the cranberries in it until they are evenly coated. Then place them on a baking sheet and let them dry for at least 1 hour.

To make the carrot cake, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line the bottom of a 19cm round cake mold with parchment paper. Grease and flour the edges of the mold.

Beat the sugar with the eggs. Then add the vegetable oil, shredded carrot, the flour, the baking powder and the salt. Finally add the mandarin zest and the nuts. Pour the batter into the prepared cake mold.

Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the cake. Allow the cake to cool down completely before you start making the frosting.

To make the frosting, whisk the softened butter with the cream cheese until well combined. Then add the elderflower cordial and whisk. Then gradually add the icing sugar. Whisk until you have a smooth frosting.

Carefully remove the cake from the mold and plate it. Then frost it with the help of a spatula. I only added it to the top and swirled it around a bit with a spoon. Place some of the sugared cranberries in the middle of the cake. If you want you can add a few mint leaves for extra color. Keep the cake in the fridge. Enjoy!

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Adult Fruit Salad (Cherry, Orange & Strawberry Salad with Balsamic-Elderflower Dressing)

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As soon as warmer weather approaches, I start looking forward to summer fruits, especially berries and cherries. I love going to the market, and seeing all the stands filled with gorgeous and colorful produce. That’s my kind of guiltless candy shop. I wanted to make a fruit salad that was a bit different, with a bit more adult flavors so to say. And by adult, I don’t mean alcoholic.

Balsamic reduction is a staple in my pantry. I actually still remember the first time I tried it. I was having dinner with my parents at an Italian restaurant about 15 years ago, and we ordered an octopus salad that came with a balsamic reduction.  We all loved it and my mom asked how to make it. Since then, she’s always had it in her pantry and when I moved out, I started to do the same.

To make the dressing, I reduced some elderflower cordial into the balsamic reduction. It adds a floral depth to the dish. The combination of the dressing and the juices from the fruits are a nice explosion of flavors in the mouth. Add the creaminess of the whipped goat cheese and crunchy pistachios, and you’ve got a great mix of textures as well.

This recipe serves 2.

Ingredients:

1 cup of fresh cherries, pitted and halved

2 cups of strawberries, thinly sliced

3 oranges, segmented

¼ cup of unsalted pistachios, chopped

For the whipped goat cheese:

100gr of goat cheese

4 tablespoons of cream

For the dressing:

¼ cup of balsamic reduction

5 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

 

If you have never made balsamic reduction before, it is super easy to make. You don’t need a fancy bottle of balsamic vinegar; just get a cheap one, since it’s going to reduce a lot. Pour 250ml of balsamic vinegar into a pan. Reduce over medium-low heat until it has reduced to about 1/3 of a cup.  Don’t let it get too thick though, as it will thicken as it cools down. If it gets too thick, you can always warm it up in the microwave for a few seconds to loosen it up. You can make this in advance and keep it in your pantry. I use it often so I normally make a bigger batch. It is very nice to drizzle over sautéed asparagus.

Prepare all of your fruit.

To make the whipped goat cheese, just place the goat cheese and cream in the food processor and pulse until smooth.

To make the dressing, place the balsamic reduction and elderflower cordial in a pan. Let it simmer over med-low heat for about 1-2 minutes, until it is all mixed. Don’t let it reduce too much, otherwise it will become a caramel and you won’t be able to pour it.

To plate up, pour some of the dressing on the plate. Then add the fruit. I formed quenelles with the whipped goat cheese. Finally, sprinkle some pistachios.

 

Strawberry Elderflower Lattice Pie

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Summer means strawberry, and yesterday that meant pie. My mom left yesterday afternoon, she was here visiting for the first time. I had a blast showing her what has now become my city and its surroundings. She was such a trooper biking around the city like a pro. Biking is not hard, but you have to keep an eye with all the tourists not paying attention to the road and, the taxis and scooters driving like crazy. I think I was the most stressed always looking back to see if she was OK, I felt like a mom. Three weeks flew by and all of the sudden we were heading to the airport to drop her off. It doesn’t get easier to say goodbye year after year. withmom

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What did I do to keep my mind busy instead of sad? I baked this pie.

It takes some time because the dough needs to chill for a while and you can make the lattice as simple or intricate as you want. Because I made braids, it took a bit longer.

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This recipe has more than enough dough for you to play around with the lattice top design that you want. I used a 23cm pie mold and still had some dough left over. You can freeze the remaining dough. Just make sure to cover it properly with plastic wrap so it doesn’t get freezer burn.

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If you like fruit flavored water, don’t throw away the strawberry tops. Add it to water, I used sparkling water, and let it sit in the fridge for one hour before drinking it. It’s simple, delicious and zero waste from the strawberries. This is a tip I read on Food52.

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

3 ¾ cups of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of granulated sugar

¾ teaspoon of salt

340gr of cold butter, chopped into pieces (I used salted butter, but you can use unsalted butter)

8 tablespoons of cold water

2 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

For the strawberry-elderflower filling:

700gr of strawberries, hulled and quartered

½ cup of granulated sugar

¼ cup of packed brown sugar

4 tablespoons of elderflower cordial

1 vanilla bean or 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence

¼ cup of cornstarch (Maizena)

Pinch of salt

To finish the pie:

Egg wash

Granulated sugar for sprinkling on the lattice top

 

Start by making the pie crust, place the water and elderflower cordial in a cup and put it in the freezer for about 15 minutes, until it is very cold. Place the chopped butter, covered with plastic wrap also in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

You can make the pie crust in the food processor, by hand or in the stand mixer.  I used my stand mixer fitted with the flat beater. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of the stand mixer. Add the cold butter pieces, mix it with a spatula. Then mix on low speed for about 2 minutes. Then add the cold water mixed with the elderflower cordial. Mix on low speed for a couple of minutes until you have an even dough.

Divide the dough into 3 parts. Pat it down with your hands, forming a circle with each piece. Keep one piece on a floured working area. Wrap the 2 remaining pieces with plastic wrap and place them in the freezer for 1 hour.

Roll out the piece of dough that you left on your working area. Dust with enough flour so it doesn’t stick. Roll it big enough to cover the bottom of the pie mold. Place the dough on the bottom of the pie mold, press with your fingers so the sides stick and trim the edges. Refrigerate until the time for the other pieces of the dough that you placed in the freezer is up.

In the meanwhile, start making the filling. Place the hulled and quartered strawberries in a bowl (if you like fruit flavored water; don’t forget to keep the strawberry tops, add it to water and let it sit in the fridge for 1 hour before drinking). Add the remaining ingredients and mix well. Set it aside, until ready to use.

Once the hour is up for the dough in the freezer, take the pie mold from the fridge. Spoon the strawberry filling into the pie crust.

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Remove 1 piece of the dough from the freezer. Roll it out into a big rectangle of about 50x26cm. Cut the dough into 2cm strips. For the rim of the pie, I made 2 big braids. For the lattice top, I cut each 2cm strip into 3 thin strips (they don’t have to be perfectly cut). With each 3 thin strips, I made one thin braid. In total I used 9 thin braids to cover the pie. I kept 2 small pieces of the thin braids to cover the parts of the rim that showed the separation between the 2 big braids. In total, you will need 2 big braids and 9 thin braids to cover the pie with this design. If you need more dough, just take the remaining piece out of the freezer.

Arrange the small braids first on the pie. You can click here to see instructions with pictures from The Kitchn on how to arrange the lattice top.

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Once the lattice top is arranged, place the big braids around the rim of the pie. Use 2 pieces of the thin braids to cover the parts where each big braid meets. Place the pie in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. This will make cleaning easier, since the strawberry filling oozes out and you don’t want sticky strawberry filling in the bottom of your oven.

Once the 20 minutes are up, remove the pie from the fridge. Brush the dough with some of the egg wash and sprinkle some granulated sugar. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until the dough is golden.

Allow for the pie to cool down completely before slicing it with a bread knife.

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