Fritters are a nice variation on pancakes, and the bonus for this particular recipe is that they are sweet without any additions, requiring no syrup, sugar or jam. Many people have had fritters of various types, especially the popular apple variety. But . . . “elder flower” fritters? Yes, these actually contain elder flowers!

Flowers were a common ingredient in cooking during medieval times, which is where this recipe comes from (England, specifically). In this recipe’s case, the flowers mixed into the batter help add a kick and a minty taste.

Because of the elder flowers, these sweeties have been associated with faeries in folk myths. Because of that, they have been used at Pagan celebrations of Beltane, Litha, and Lughnasadh to help as a protection against the malevolent and mischievous fair folk, and sometimes these are even made at Samhain season as a symbol of keeping away bad spirits.

If you’ve never made a recipe incorporating flowers before, you might start with this one–you’ll be pleasantly surprised! (Read on after the directions for variations and notes.)

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon rose water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 cup self-rising flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 cups elder flowers, freshly picked and cleaned

Directions:

Mix egg, rose water, honey, and brandy in a bowl, then stir in flour and cinnamon. Should be thick like pancake batter. (Add flour if it’s too thin, and add more brandy if it’s too thick.) Fold in the flowers. Fry like pancakes, OR drop by the teaspoonful into a deep-fat fryer until golden brown. Serve with orange water sprinkle and fresh lemon, or dip in sweet cream.

Yield: Fried like pancakes: About 10. Deep fat fryer: About 2 dozen.

Use for: Beltane, Litha, Lughnasadh, Samhain, The Floralia

Source: A Kitchen Witch’s Cookbook

Note: In many areas it may be tough to find fresh elder flowers. If you order from somewhere or pick them yourself, make sure they are the Nigra variety because there is a kind you shouldn’t use due to high toxicity.

IF YOU CANNOT FIND ELDER FLOWERS or you are squeamish about eating flowers, there is a variation:

You can make this recipe by substituting very finely diced apples–about a cup’s worth–for the flowers, and adding a little fresh mint. If you do do this substitution I urge you to not neglect the mint, because with either elder flowers or with apple-and-mint, the minty taste is really what makes it so good.

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