Candied Violets and Carrots
By Scott Bradshaw
Have you seen the price of candied violets lately? Ouch! Amirite?
I know that candied flowers are probably considered old fashioned, but now that Lambeth is back in vogue, these Victorian-era cake decorations can’t be far behind. Get ahead of the curve and let me show you the basics of using a flower that is probably growing in your yard. (Insert ubiquitous warning about eating things from your yard that have had poison squirted on them. Don’t do it, okay?) You can use plain egg white or corn syrup, but I prefer the meringue powder version.
2 teaspoons meringue powder
2 tablespoons water
1 cup granulated sugar
Violets, freshly picked and pesticide-free
- Mix the meringue powder and water together in a small dish.
- Lightly brush the meringue mixture onto both sides of the flower petals and then sprinkle with sugar. Allow to dry on a parchment paper–lined pan for 1 to 2 days.
1 bunch small carrots, tops still attached
3 cups water, plus extra for soaking
3 cups granulated sugar, plus extra for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 225°F. Line a baking pan with Silpat or parchment paper.
- Soak the carrots and their tops in water for a while to refresh the green leaves. Clean carrots and remove any remaining wilted or broken stems of leaves.
- Using a mandolin, carefully shave off carrot slices from the long end, until you are even with the stem of the top. Turn the carrot over and repeat, so you have a thin piece of carrot remaining attached to the stem top.
- Bring the 3 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar to a boil in large shallow pan. Ease the carrot and the leafy top into the mixture and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Carefully pick up the carrot with tongs and let the syrup drain off. Move the carrot to the prepared baking pan and, using bamboo skewers, quickly arrange it. The carrot and top should be flexible and easy to shape, but it will be sticky.
- Bake for 30 minutes. The carrot should hold its shape when you pick it up. If it still seems too flexible, turn it over and bake for another 30 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with sugar. If you feel the carrot needs extra support, make clear sugar glass and drizzle it on to make it rigid.
1 cup granulated sugar
½ cup corn syrup
½ cup water
Pinch of cream of tartar
Carrot flavoring (optional)
- Add the sugar, corn syrup, water, and cream of tartar into a saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, swirling the pan often. Once the sugar is melted, stop the swirling. Cook until the sugar reaches 290°F to 300°F on a candy thermometer, or when a small bit dropped into cold water forms up immediately.
- While still hot, carefully drizzle the syrup onto the carrot and carrot top. Let cool before using.
Want the whole cake recipe? Check out the July/August 2022 issue of ACD!