I’ve always loved Elderflower cordial so I was really happy to use it in the final of GBBO. It’s one of those flavours that really smacks of summer but also of thirst quenching freshness. Walking or cycling in the countryside and catching a whiff of it and I feel good! Shortly after GBBO finished Belvoir got in touch and asked me to come up with a couple of recipes using their elderflower cordial, one of which also had to use honey. It turned out to be trickier than I thought to use two, sweet, floral-scented liquids together in one recipe but in the end I came up with a very tasty honey cake with an elderflower & mascarpone icing. The other recipe is for Elderflower & strawberry panna cotta. Of course panna cotta is largely cream so really it’s just a fancy version of strawberries & cream – bring it on, summer’s here!
Elderflower and Strawberry Panna Cotta
Makes 4 standard (150ml) sized ramekins
100ml elderflower cordial
1 gelatine leaf
3 ripe strawberries
400ml double cream
150ml elderflower cordial
1tbsp lemon juice
½ tsp salt
50g caster sugar
3 gelatine leaves
1. Start with the jelly. Chill ramekins in fridge. Soak a leaf of gelatine in cold water for a few minutes.
2. Gently warm the elderflower cordial to approx 50C. In a microwave this should take 30 – 40 seconds.
3. Squeeze out the excess water from the gelatine and dissolve in cordial. Divide between 4 ramekins.
4. Cut the strawberries into small pieces and divide between ramekins.
5. Chill ramekins in fridge until the jelly has set. (This should take about an hour.)
6. Meanwhile start on the cream. In a small saucepan gently heat the cream until it is barely simmering and then turn off the heat. Dissolve in the caster sugar and salt.
7. Soak the 3 leaves of gelatine in cold water for a few minutes.
8. Meanwhile stir in the cordial, lemon juice and milk to the pan.
9. Squeeze out the gelatine and stir it into the pan.
10. Allow the pan to cool until it barely feels warm. (The temperature of it needs to be somewhere between 15 and 35C.) Then gently pour onto the jelly in the ramekins.
11. Chill in the fridge for a couple more hours.
12. To release the panna cottas from the ramekins run a blunt knife around the edge of them. Quickly dip the base of the ramekin in some very hot water then turn out onto a plate. (You may need a blunt knife to nudge them away from the side of the ramekin when they are upside down to release the vacuum.)
Honey Cake with Elderflower Icing
Makes two-layered 20cm cake
220g unsalted butter (room temp)
140g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp of salt
4 large eggs
280g self raising flour
2tsp baking powder
3 balls stem ginger
2tbsp elderflower cordial.
100g double cream
200g mascarpone cheese
50g elderflower cordial
100g icing sugar
1. Grease and line two x 8 inch (20cm) cake tins.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C.
3. Finely chop the stem ginger.
4. Using an electric mixer beat the butter, sugar, salt and honey for a few minutes until light and fluffy.
5. One by one beat in the eggs making sure each is well and truly mixed in before adding the next.
6. Sift in the flour and baking powder and carefully fold in.
7. Carefully fold in the stem ginger.
8. Finally fold in milk.
9. Split between the two tins and bake for approx 25 minutes or until a knife comes out cleanly from the middle.
10. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out from tins and placing on cooling rack.
11. Pour 1tbsp of cordial over the top of each cake.
12. Meanwhile put the double cream in a mixing bowl and whisk until just starting to thicken. Add remaining icing ingredients and very briefly beat until combined – be careful not to overbeat.
13. Place one of the cakes on the plate on which it is going to be served.
14. Put approx a quarter of the icing in a freezer bag or in icing bag. Snip off corner and then pipe 1 to 2 cm circles all around the edge of the bottom cake. Pipe the rest inside the circles and then use up to another quarter of the icing to cover the rest of the cake.
15. Gently place other sponge on top. Spread remaining icing over top. Pipe rosettes around edge if you have the necessary piping bags / nozzles.
Alternative: If you are not so keen on icing and prefer a less sweet cake then halve the amount of icing and spread some good quality lemon curd between the two layers of sponge.
Since writing up the recipes I have been up to the Belvoir factory to see them producing the cordial which was really interesting to see. I only saw their organic cordial being made but it was exactly the same as what I made at home… just on far, far bigger scale.