Crystallised flowers and petals are the perfect decorations I think. They have the simplicity and beauty of nature, with a little touch of glamour. Sometimes I like to just scatter the unadulterated petals on top of a cake…I love vivid pink against a dark chocolate cake, but often this gentle process of crystallising flowers and petals is the perfect finishing touch to a baked delight.
In these pictures I used a rose as other edible flowers are not easily access at this time of year. A rose, while pretty, doesn’t add much in terms of taste. However the lovely Janice from Greens of Devon kindly offered ideas and reminded me of beautiful pansies and violas, the gingery flavour of chrysanthemums and the peppery tang of nasturtiums as other options. Using flowers to add another layer of flavour to this your baked goods would really take them to another dimension. Their website has lots of other ideas for edible flowers. Crystallised flowers are best made a few hours or even the day before they are needed so that they can dry out fully. This means that they won’t absorb the moisture of the frosting as quickly so they can sit for longer. Make sure any flowers you use are clean and dry, and have been grown in area that is protected from lots of pollution and chemicals and any potential animal interference! Also, the egg white remains uncooked so use an egg from a hen you trust! If in doubt, try buying packets of edible flowers. You’ll often find them in salads mixes at your local market, once we hit spring and summer time. I like to add a little glitter to the sugar or even just sprinkle some on afterwards for that extra little sparkle, so non toxic cake decorating glitter could be a good investment! I am using petals here, but sometimes if you are using a flower left whole, just crystallising the tips of the flower can look really pretty and elegant.
What you need:
1 egg white lightly beaten
50 grams of caster sugar (this will vary depending on how many flowers or petals you are doing).
A pastry or artist’s brush
Edible/non toxic glitter if you like!
How to do it:
Set yourself up with your petals/flowers clean and ready to go. (I recommend sitting down for this job!)
Get a bowl with your egg white, a plate/bowl with your caster sugar and a large plate to dry the petals/flowers.Put them all in a row.
Use a pastry brush or a new artists brush to paint egg white all over the petal/flower.
Lie it immediately on the sugar and gently heap sugar on top of it so that it gets completely covered in sugar.
Lift it out, lie it on the plate and allow it to dry.
Depending on the flower it may keep for 2- 3 days in a cool airtight container. However, I like to use them within a day.
Use to decorate everything and anything!