Elderflower posset and fritter

Stephen Harris

Stephen Harris

27th September 2017

Elderflower posset and fritter

We have several large elderflower trees around us at the pub and I can’t wait for the flowers to arrive in late-May, early-June. They signal the arrival of early summer and their optimistic smell fills the air - especially after a rain shower. Rather like asparagus, we like to binge on them while they are here, serving them in ice cream, cordial, possets and fritters. The fritter is the closest you will come to eating a doughnut without having to eat all that dough. When I see this dessert on its way out to a customer, I smile at the thought that the tree the elderflowers came from is only yards away – and the flower was still on that tree minutes before. This is us using ingredients in a way that most restaurants cannot match. - Serves 6

Ingredients

  • Elderflower possets:
  • 600 ml/ 21 fl oz (2½ cups) double (heavy) cream
  • 70 g/2½ oz (1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon (or another citrus fruit)
  • 1 head fresh elderflowers
  • whipped cream, to serve
  • Elderflower fritters:
  • 100 g/3½ oz (¾ cup) self-raising flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 175 ml/6 fl oz (2/3 cup) soda water, chilled
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • good pinch of sea salt
  • groundnut (peanut) oil, for deep frying
  • 6 heads fresh elderflowers
  • caster (superfine) sugar, to serve

Method

For the possets:
Put the cream into a pan and bring to a boil. Take the pan off the head and stir in the sugar until completely dissolved. Stir in the lemon juice and zest and the elderflower and boil rapidly for 90 seconds.
Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve. Divide the cream between glasses and leave to cool fully at room temperature. Some people now refrigerate the possets until ready to serve, but I think the texture is more beguiling if they are allowed to set at room temperature for 2 hours. If it is a hot day you can give them 5 minutes in the refrigerator to begin to set, but no more than that.
To make the fritters:
Combine the flours in a mixing bowl and whisk in the chilled soda water. The batter should be the consistency of single (light) cream. If it is any thicker, the batter will be claggy. Gently whisk in the vodka and salt.
To deep fry the fritters:
First heat the oil in a deep fryer set to 180°C/350°F. Hold an elderflower by its stalk and dip into the batter, allowing most of it to drip back into the bowl. Lower gently into the oil. Repeat with the remaining elderflowers. Turn them around in the oil after 1 minute, then continue frying until golden brown. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.
While the elderflowers are frying, put caster (superfine) sugar into a shallow bowl. Toss the drained, warm fritters gently in the sugar, one at a time, and serve immediately alongside the possets, topped with a little whipped cream.