One of the easiest and prettiest ways to decorate any cake (or pudding) throughout the spring and summer. A wide selection of edible flowers and leaves can be crystallised, just do make sure they are dry and haven’t been sprayed with insecticide. In summer you can crystalise rose petals, rose buds, whole roses, pansies, mint leaves, sweet geranium leaves, daisies, lavender and anchusa. In spring, try pansies, primulas, primroses and violets.
- 1 egg white
- White caster sugar
- Selection of dry edible flowers, petals or leaves
- Small paintbrush
- Fine florist's wire
1. Line a baking sheet or two with baking parchment. Place the egg white in a bowl and whisk a little with a fork. Tip the caster sugar into another bowl.
2. Paint each flower, petal or leaf – one at a time – with egg white, being sure that every surface is lightly covered. Using a teaspoon, sprinkle over the sugar, holding the flower, petal or leaf over the sugar bowl, until every surface is covered. Gently shake off the excess and lay the flower, petal or leaf on a baking sheet.
3. If crystallising whole roses, either lay to dry on a baking sheet with the other flowers, or push a fine florists wire through the base of the rose and hook the end of the wire over a glass. The flowers will dry hanging.
4. Leave for 24 hours, or until thoroughly dry. The smaller petals and flowers will dry in a few hours, or overnight in a dry, warm place (an airing cupboard is perfect).
5. Store in a dry place in an airtight container. if they have been completely covered in egg white and sugar they may keep for many weeks, but any gap in the coating will shorten their lives.
Copyright (c) Fiona Cairns, 2013. Photography by Dan Jones. Extracted from SEASONAL BAKING by Fiona Cairns published by Orion Publishing