Recently my home made cupcake decorating manifesto extolled the virtues of commercial candied flowers. And beautiful things they are indeed. Brilliantly colored, perfectly formed, splashy, flashy, glamorous. But we can do better with this Simply Spectacularly Delicious (SSD) recipe for Home Made Candied Violets.
Rather than rush off on a fool's errand to achieve the perfection of a Sylvia Weinstock wedding cake, these candied flowers produce a distinctly different — and dare I say — more lovely result..
Created by "loving hands at home" is a virtue here. In some circles this charming phrase more often is comprises equal measures of admiration for effort and sympathy for results. Not so with Home Made Candied Violets.
So gather from your garden (or procure from a farmers' market) a big batch of the freshest violets imaginable. In addition to a variety of blues and purples, did you know violets also include yellows and whites? I didn't, but I do now.
Lay out your flowers. Take an egg white and whisk well with 1 T. water. Use a small artist's brush to paint the faces of the flowers, taking care to get between the overlap between the petals. (This is much easier than it sounds.) Then submerge the flower face-down in the egg white to thoroughly cover the backs. The brush is handy here to ensure the bottoms are completely coated in egg white.
When you turn the flower right side up again, the petals will be messy, folded over each other, bunched up. But it's very easy to lay them back out into their original shape. Their dainty appearance belies a surprising resiliency. Again, easier than you'd imagine. Courage!
Did I tell you to have a bowl of extra-fine granulated sugar at the ready? Well now you know.
With the petals returned to their original configuration, quickly flip the flower face down into the sugar. This swift flip prevents the petals from getting all messy again.
Next, bury the backs of the flowers in the sugar. Gently pat and dab the blossoms with sugar so every bit of petal is completely encrusted with the fine crystals. The egg white will make them look gunky at this point. Fear not.
Place the violets, face up, on a baking sheet to dry. If you live in Phoenix or Dubai, by all means just leave out on the counter them to dry. If you live in climes cooler and more humid, a couple of hours in a 110° is faster and more reliable.
Now not every flower will be a masterpiece. So do allow yourself plenty.
When completely dry, store in an airtight container.
For maximum effect, these Home Made Candied Violets are best placed outside the spotlight. Insouciantly clustered off to one side of a picture-perfect butter cream frosting will have a much more gratifying effect. "Oh those? You like them? They are pretty, aren't they. I made them myself , silly. Couldn't be easier. It's all on that website I've been raving about, Spectacularly Delicious dot com."