Violets & Lace…….
Home-made Crystallised Violets for Cakes & Bakes
As violets so be I recluse and sweet,
Cheerful as daisies unaccounted rare,
Still sunward-gazing from a lowly seat,
Still sweetening wintry air.
While half-awakened Spring lags incomplete,
While lofty forest trees tower bleak and bare,
Daisies and violets own remotest heat
And bloom and make them fair.
Christina (Georgina) Rossetti (1830–94)
Violet on green, air heavy with scent……..peeping through after winter cold and heralding spring and beyond; lace and antique jugs with posies so gay, promises of sunshine and longer days. Old fashioned scent on hankies and scarves, cut glass bowls of candies and sweets……afternoon tea, your best china cups, sugar lumps and tongs with violet topped cakes…….grandmothers, aunties and mothers with crisply starched linen.
Home-made Crystallised Violets
|Serves||30 to 40 violets|
|Prep time||24 hours|
|By author||Karen S Burns-Booth|
- 30 - 40 fresh sweet violets
- 1 egg white
- caster sugar
|Step 1||Place the dry fresh violets on a breadboard, baking tray or flat surface. Beat the egg white to a light foam. Brush the flowers all over with beaten egg white, using a soft pastry brush or a paint brush. |
|Step 2||Sprinkle flowers all over with the caster sugar immediately. The sugar needs to stick to the egg white before it dries. Leave them for approximately one hour or more until fully set, I prefer to leave them overnight. You can also sit the finished flowers on a baking tray lined with ovenproof paper in a warm oven (switched off). |
|Step 3||Once they have dried, they will be hard and brittle; store them carefully in an airtight tin for up to 2 months. |
|Step 4||Tips: Leave the stalks on the violets, it helps you to pick them up and paint the egg white on them. |
The potted history of the Violet…….
The Viola Odorata was one of the first flowering plants to be grown commercially. It was noted that they were for sale in Athens 400BC being grown in specialist Nurseries in Attica. Throughout the centuries Violets have been a favourite flower, either for their perfume which scented the rooms and floors or their medicinal qualities which are still being researched today (eg. Viola Yedoensis).Most perfumes of Violets today are synthetic of course but the perfume evokes such nostalgic memories for so many people. Dawlish in Devon was the most important centre for the cultivation of Violets in 1916 and a special train ran from Cornwall to London carrying all the flowers on their way to Covent Garden Market every day. By 1936 there was a flourishing trade from this area and flowers were sent regularly to the Queen and ladies at the Court. During the war years the land was requisitioned for the growing of food,and Violets went out of fashion, sadly never to return.
I will be back later today with more words, the Herbs on Saturday round-up and a new March Herbs on Saturday blog hop……….enjoy my scented Saturday post. I will also be posting another violet recipe, as well as how to use violets in baking. See you later, Karen
As sweet violets are classed as herbs, I am entering this into the March Herbs on Saturday Blog Hop HERE.
Those violets are so pretty both fresh and crystalised. We don’t see them in flower shops here sadly.
I know Janice, it is a shame, as you used to be able to buy little posies of wild sweet violets from florists and from flower sellers in the streets once upon a time.
Jenny Eatwell says
Even though I’ve no intention of making any crystallised violets at any time, I can’t help but come and enjoy the prettiness of the blog post. It’s just lovely! 🙂
Thanks Jenny! My violet recipes are a pleasure to make!
beautiful pictures I have always been a little nerve to eat flowers will try in the summer
I am posting a list of edible flowers on my blog soon, so that may help! Thanks!
What a stunning collection of photos. I would love to make these and give them as a gift as well as keep some for myself too!x
Thanks Laura, they would make a fabulous gift on a tissue-line box!
Javelin Warrior says
::shakes fist:: You and your beautiful fresh violets!! ::sigh:: I’m really just jealous and these crystalized petals look amazing. I have no idea what violets taste like, but anything so vibrant in color must be worth eating. Especially coated in sugar =)
LOL! I have TWO more violet recipes to follow too…..thanks so much for your lovely comments! Karen
Charlotte @gofreecakes says
Wow, Karen these look beautiful. I haven’t ever tried anything with violets before and will now! Thank you for sharing this recipe
Thanks Charlotte, I also posted a violet syrup and have violet sugar and cakes to follow soon!
Lulu Stephen says
I have violets growing in my Umbrian garden at the moment, and am making a “naked” wedding cake for my daughter at the end of August (here in Italy) If I make them now, is there any chance that they will still be ok in 5 months time, or can they be “refreshed” in any way? I will have violas, and fresh flowers on the day, but would love to include these as they hold a special place in both our hearts
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi Lulu, it’s a bit too soon to make them unless you can guarantee a very cool DRY place to store them as the sugar can melt in the heat – it’s a shame but it might be pushing it a bit to keep them for 5 months – sorry, you could make them anyway and see how they keep? Karen
Lulu Stephen says
that was my fear! Thanks, maybe I just will give them a go, and will let you know. After all, all I have to lose is some sugar and an egg white!
Margaret Murphy says
I’m hoping to make the violet syrup and the crystallized violets. My only concern is: what do I do with the stalks when I crystallize the flowers? Do I just remove them or crystallize them too? We’re having a Victorian evening at work and I’ve volunteered to make these so I want them to be perfect. Thank you for your lovely recipas.
Karen Burns-Booth says
Hi Margaret – Just leave the stalks on the violets as they help to hold them when you are painting the egg white and on and dusting with sugar – when the violets are dry and hard, then just snap the stalks off.
Margaret Murphy says