Old Fashioned Sweet Violet Syrup
for Easter & Mothering Sunday Cakes & Bakes
It’s violets all the way……..I seem to have hundreds of these beautiful, highly scented flowers in my garden this year – they are delightful and make me smile when I open the front door. And to think that just two weeks ago they were under a thick blanket of snow…..but here they are now, all smiley and happy; the air is heavy with their scent – an old fashioned fragrance redolent of lace edged handkerchiefs, old leather handbags belonging to elderly aunties, as well as sweet shops and Sunday afternoon tea. I have adorned every spare shelf with little glass jars of these pretty little flowers, splashes of colour in dark corners and forgotten nooks and crannies brighten the house and my mood.
It’s the arrival of my violets that has let me back into my still room – a place where I preserve fruit and vegetables, and flowers too. I have made liqueurs, jams, chutneys, pickles, potted meats, bottled fruits, curds, syrups, jellies and aromatic gins and brandies in this quiet back room with its old porcelain sink in the corner and assorted wooden wine cases of jam jars sit waiting to be filled with glorious produce. I have a love affair with all things floral in the kitchen; I blame it on my mother, who would decorate birthday cakes with delicate crystallised primroses and delicate rose petals. Easter cakes were presented with tussy mussies of wild flowers in the middle whilst home-made chocolates were adorned with crystallised violets. Cakes and bakes each had a crown of preserved flowers along with floral icings and scented buttercream.
This is a simple and beautiful syrup that is easy to make and produces amazing results, both in a visual and culinary sense. I usually crystallise my violets, and I will be posting that method soon, however, I recently found an old recipe for making violet syrup in one of my mum’s notebooks, so, I have been busy making Sweet Violet Syrup this year. This violet syrup is great when added to icings and buttercream for cakes; and is wonderful when used in beverages – only a small amount is needed to add to sparkling wine or lemonade for a delectable and elegant drink. I have also added the syrup as a flavouring for homemade macaroons, French Macarons. Why not make a homemade violet ice cream, or add this syrup to junkets and blancmanges, the list is endless.