19 May 2015

Lilac Syrup

 Every year I have that same day.  I walk out into the yard and discover this, sweet, cloying small that makes me think I dropped a bag of sugar somewhere.  Then I notice the blossoms on the lilac bush and remember that sweet smell emanates from those white petals.  Several years ago, I harvested those blossoms and made a lilac jamely.   I loved it. 

This year, I harvested the flowers and made a simple syrup.  While it was, in preparation terms, a true simple syrup, it was in culinary terms a complex and vibrant syrup; sweet, aromatic, and slightly floral.  A perfect accompaniment to cocktails, an added jolt to ices tea, a surprising glaze for chicken, and so much more.

 Lilac Syrup

4 cups prepared lilac blossoms
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

To get to this point, one needs to pick the flowering buds off their stalks.  It is time consuming as any hint of the green will leave a bitterness that distracts from the sweetness.  It a job that can be done by hand, of if delft, a pair of sharp embroidery scissors.  To make approximately one quart for syrup, you will need four cops of lilac leaves.  Pack them down to insure a good four cups.  Place them in an sealable container and add 2 cups of sugar and leave them over night.  (It is fine to leave the container sitting out, but should you get distracted and find you need an extra day or two before making the syrup, place the container in the refrigerator. )  When you are ready to make the syrup, put the lilacs and sugar into a large pot, add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes.  Cover and let steep for several hours.  Into a large glass container or bowl, pour the now cooled syrup through a strainer lined with cheesecloth to remove the solids.  Discard the solids.  Store the lilac syrup in the refrigerator
Another great use for lilac syrup is as a base for sorbet.  Blues berries, cantaloupe, honeydew, or my favorite, raspberries.

Raspberry Lilac Sorbet

1 1/2 cups lilac syrup
2 cups fresh raspberries

In a blender add the raspberries and the syrup.  Blend for about 45 seconds.  Place the mixture into an ice cream freezer and follow the manufacturer's directions.

Think about it, the world is a better place with flowers in it.  And so is your sorbet.

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