Sweet blossoms in a crisp batter, our vegan elderflower fritters are a real spring treat.
Elderflowers are the edible blossoms of the Elder tree. The trees are very common in the UK and North Europe. You can often find elder, sambucus nigra, growing in hedgerows. The bark of elder tree is greyish brown, becoming more creased as the tree gets older. Elder leaves are made up of 5-7 leaflets with a pointed tip and feathered edge. The elder tree has large flower umbrella like heads made up of lots of small white flowers. In the UK, May and June is peak elderflower season. They have a beautiful scent, and one of the great joys of spring is picking a basketful of fresh elderflowers and breathing in their characteristic floral aroma.
You want to pick the flowers on a sunny day. In the morning the flowers are at their peak, and their scent is still sweet and fresh. Choose flower heads that are fully open with no buds, but that are still fresh and white, not turning brown. Snip them off the tree just above where the small green stems of the flower head join the larger green stem. Gather your elderflowers in a basket or cloth bag. Try and use them as soon as possible as they start to wilt soon after picking.
Always leave some elderflowers on the tree, so that there are some left to turn to Elderberries in the autumn. Elder trees grow so easily that if you’ve found one tree, there’s most likely another one very close.
Making Elderflower Fritters
The batter for our vegan elderflower fritters has just 4 ingredients. It’s so simple to make, just mix the flour, baking powder and icing sugar together, then add the beer. We use non alcoholic beer, but normal beer works fine. You can even use sparkling water, or ginger beer! The fizz is what makes the batter bubble up and get light and crisp. As flour absorbency can vary across Europe, you may find you need to add a little more beer, or a little more flour. Aim for a texture that is runny but a little thick - thicker than crepe batter, but thinner than American pancake batter.
Before you dip them into the batter, check over the flowers and give them a shake to remove any bugs. The stalks of the elderflowers are not edible, but they make really great handles so you can dip them into the batter.
To fry the fritters, heat up about 3cm of oil in a pan. We usually use sunflower oil, though a mild rapeseed also works well. You want to have the oil nice and hot before you start frying (but not so hot that it smokes!)To test that the oil is up to temperature, put a bit of batter in, it should fizz up immediately and quickly start cook, becoming brown in less than a minute. You can either use a deep frying pan or a small saucepan. The elderflower fritters cook so quickly that it doesn’t matter if you can only fit a couple in your pan at once.
We like to enjoy our vegan elderflower fritters with a delicious drizzle of our vegan dandelion honey and a dusting of icing sugar. Why not try serve them with some elderflower ice cream and a glass of elderflower cordial too!
Vegan Elderflower Fritters
- Mix the flour, baking powder and sugar together. Then add the beer and mix to a runny but slightly thick batter. If too thick, add more beer.
- Fill a deep sided pan with 3cm sunflower oil and heat to 180C. Always take care when deep frying. Test it is hot enough with a drop of batter, which should immediately fizz and start to brown in less than a minute.
- Dip your elderflowers heads into the batter, let it drip for a moment, and then carefully put in the hot oil.
- The fritters are ready when they are light golden brown all over. Takes about a minute. Take them out and drain on a piece of kitchen paper.
- Continue to cook the remaining fritters in batches until you have used up all your batter.
- Serve your elderflower fritters with a drizzle of vegan dandelion honey, and a dusting of icing sugar. Enjoy them fresh!
This information is calculated per serving and is an estimate only.
If you fancy being a bit more adventurous after trying our vegan elderflower fritters, then you need to try our Acacia Flower Fritters too!
Our Vegan Elderflower Cake is also super popular, check it out!
Happy flower foraging!
Sophie and Paul