I have fallen head over heels for this taste combination and have now made a fair few bottle of elderflower and rhubarb cordial - make hay while the sun shines and all that...
We have so much of the stuff that I've been getting all experimental in the kitchen finding new ways to use it as an ingredient. None so far has failed to impress (well, they impress me anyway).
The first thing I tried was a granita. As Ruby is not having cows milk anymore, we've been looking for alternatives to her beloved ice cream and this was a real success.
The quickest way to make this is to freeze it on a metal baking tray (don't use aluminium though). Using chilled water from the fridge will also speed up the freezing process. Simply make up your cordial with water (I made it a little stronger than I would to drink) and pour onto a shallow metal baking tray. Tip: it's easier if you position your tray flat in the freezer first and then pour it in! The quantity will obviously depend on the size of your freezing container and there's no need to add sugar as it's already in the cordial.
After 1 1/2 - 2 hours, remove and break up the ice crystals with the back of a fork and return it to the freezer.
Repeat this process each half hour until you are left with a snow-like consistency. The shallower the tin, the quicker this will be - mine took about 2 1/2 in total.
The end result is a sherbet tasting, powerfully refreshing granita. Perfect for a light dessert or to cool down on a hot day - whatever that is.
I'm entering this recipe into the Kavey Eats Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge. Wish me luck!
I have to say, one of the nicest ways to enjoy this granita is to leave it to melt slightly, fill a cocktail glass, pour over white rum and enjoy it as an Elderflower and Rhubarb daiquiri!
Tonight I tried something different and came up with Rhubarb and Elderflower infused custard tarts.
Whoop whoop, I've never made custard before and was pretty surprised at how easy it was. By using the flavour of elderflowers, you get a beautifully fragrant custard.
Ingredients (makes about 8 mini tarts):
1 pack ready roll sweet shortcrust pastry
4 tablespoons cordial
2 teaspoons gelatin
2 sticks rhubarb
2 egg yolks
500 mls full cream milk
500 mls double cream
2 tablespoons caster sugar
1 heaped teaspoon cornflower
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
3 elderflower heads (shaken but not washed)
Gently heat the milk in a pan until warm - do not allow to boil. Place the elderflower heads in a bowl and pour the warm milk over. Leave to cool and infuse.
Meanwhile cut out and cook your mini pastry cases as per the instructions on the packet.
Slice up the rhubarb and cook gently in a little water in a saucepan until just soft - about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
To make the custard, strain off the infused milk through a muslin lined sieve. Together with the cream, heat in a pan until just simmering. While this is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, cornflower and sugar.
Take the milk off the heat and pour over the egg mix, whisking all the time. Add the vanilla paste. When fully combined, return to the pan over a medium heat and stir gently until it starts to thicken. Pour into a jug and leave to cool.
Once cool, part fill your pastry cases and refrigerate to set the custard.
Make up a jelly glaze by heating the cordial in a pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the gelatin until dissolved.
Top your tarts with rhubarb slices and pour over the glaze, refrigerating again before serving.
Lastly, I was quite taken with the idea of flavoured jelly, so I attempted something else I've never made before - Turkish Delight.
Make up a strong jelly mixture by again heating some cordial and adding gelatin. Follow the packet instruction, but make it stronger than for a dessert jelly. Pour into a bowl or metal tray and put in the fridge to set. Mix together equal quantities of icing sugar and cornflour on a plate and turn the jelly out onto it. Using a warm knife, cut into squares and coat with the powder.
This was delicious and an unusual combination of the Turkish Delight texture, with the sharp sherbet hit of the rhubarb. Yay! Another success.
What shall I try next?