Oh yes, lilacs are glorious to harvest – but they’re not so easy to prepare. Lilac is tricky and time-consuming (you need to remove each tiny stem from each tiny blossom) but the good news is you’ll have plenty of time for working in a little magical intention. Lilac is a potent spell-caster with the power of the Fairy Queen behind her – but more on her beautifying history later.
Let’s start by saying lilac’s delicate scent can become rather vegetal when heated– as I discovered in my attempts to make a lilac cordial last year. In fact, when I excitedly poured a small sample for my mother-in-law who absolutely adores lilacs, I was crushed when she couldn’t even identify the flavour!
I also infused Lilac in honey for four weeks but alas, it wasn’t anything to write home about either. What was spectacular however was the tiny honey-coated blossoms which I dried on a high kitchen shelf. Crunchy sweet and perfectly preserved they have lasted over a year.
The problem according is that the longer you let a lilac infusion sit, “the more “green” vegetable-like flavours come out. Another issue is heat (as in my hot sugar-water for the cordial) which also seems to alter the taste, bringing out an almost tobacco-like undertone. Interesting – but not what I was after.
But this year I think I got it. Inspired by an old recipe for magical lilac sugar (just whir up lilac blossoms with an equal amount of sugar) I was delighted to discover a way of capturing the lilac’s dreamy essence. Subtle yet exquisite, it melts on the tongue evoking the scent of sun-warmed lilacs on a spring day.
Also, I discovered infusing blossoms in cream for 24 hrs gently released their aromatic oils without changing them in any way. Or you can put them in warmed cream and let them sit overnight. While it was tempting to try to cook this into a lilac custard I worried this might alter the flavour, so I decided to whip it into a cream instead. To this, I added the lilac sugar. Well – this was gorgeous.
So having promised to bring wildcrafted sweet treats to local spring fling gathering, I decided it was time for Lilac Cream Tarts to make their debut. And I discovered quite by accident (scraping the last of the lilac cream from the bowl the next day) that its flavour had become even more delicious. So best to let your cream infuse for at least 24 hours before placing in pre-cooked pastry shells (no baking!) to serve.
But back to the magic. While lilac has a plethora of uses from driving away ghosts, repelling evil and enhancing psychic ability, I decided it was lilac’s longstanding connection to Venus the Goddess of Love and Beauty that I wanted to contemplate. As I surrendered to the task of pinching the blossoms from their stems, I allowed their scented allure to permeate my senses.
Paying careful attention to their delicate shapes, the shades of colors, from pale pink to deep purple, I called on Lady Tatiana, Queen of the Fae, to whom the lilac is beloved. Llewellyn’s Spell A Day offers a “Lilac Faerie Beauty Spell” to bring out your inner beauty and make it shine.
“Lady Tatiana, beautiful fae, I ask a boon this April day. Awaken my beauty from within. And let it glow upon my skin.”
Whether these Lilac Cream tarts will enhance your outer or inner beauty, I can’t really say. But biting into one will bring her enchanting fragrance to your taste buds. And when preparing these tarts, beauty won’t be far from your mind either, especially when you see the blossoms swirling in white cream, or the swoony mauve colour of the lilac sugar. One thing is sure, making Lilac Cream Tarts is a magical experience.
Lilac Cream Tarts
- Four cups of lilac blossoms (stems already removed)
- 1 cup of organic sugar
- 2 cups of cream
- 1 cup of full fat DRAINED Greek Yogurt (place in a sieve or cheesecloth overnight to let the whey drain out).
- a pinch of cardamom
- 24 mini pastry tarts (you can make pastry from scratch of course – but you won’t find the recipe here!)
- Make Lilac Cream: Take two cups of blossoms and place in a glass bowl (see through) with two cups of warmed whipping cream. Place in a sunny spot, allowing the sun to warm the cream for an afternoon. The longer the better. Then place in fridge and let sit overnight. Next day strain out the flowers.
- Make Lilac Sugar: Take one cup of lilac blossoms, cup of sugar and place in food processor. Whiz until flowers are completely dissolved into sugar.
- Whip cream, slowly adding in the cup of lilac sugar. Add your pinch of cardamom. Then gently, by hand, blend the cream with the yogurt. (I find this stops the cream from being overly rich and overly sweet)
- Heat your oven to 350. Bake your pastry shells until golden brown. Once cooled, spoon about a tablespoon of your finished lilac cream into the shells. Garnish with a sprinkle of lilac sugar and a lilac blossom here and there.
- Should be served the same day (the longer they sit the more likely the crust will become soggy) but honestly they’re not so bad the next day either.
For more Lilac Magic check out this video!
11 thoughts on “Spell-Binding Fairy Beauties: Lilac Cream Tarts”
What an aesthetically pleasing and highly informative post Danielle – thank you so much for sharing your experiences with capturing that lilac essence – lilac is still on my “to try” list and you have now saved me going down the same dead ends with heating – I shall now go straight to the sugar and cream 🙂
I’m so going to try this! Sounds lovely. Question though, did you wash the flowers before use?
It depends from where they are harvested…if close by highway or road I might (dust & exhaust) but generally from my own yard I know they are clean. I do give them a good shake and let sit in water a bit to give any wee creatures a chance to escape….good luck! PS for my last bunch I actually pureed a handful of blossoms (sepals removed) in the food processor with a bit of the finished lilac cream and then spooned in about a 1/2 tablespoon back into the finished cream mixture for last minute flavor. Was wonderful!
Reblogged this on My Blog.
I am going to try this one when the lilacs bloom this spring! I am wondering how far in advance one can make the lilac sugar before it begin to get a “green” flavour.
Lilac sugar is not cooked so it will keep just fine, the flavour just fades over time.
Reblogged this on body divine yoga and commented:
Lilac Cream Tarts w/ Lilac Sugar – spring fragrance & flavour….
For the dried blossoms, did you simply coat them and put them in a warm place to dry?
I made an infused honey with the lilac blossoms. After I drained the blossoms of all excess honey I put them on a small cookie sheet and put them away on a high shelf in the kitchen. When I rediscovered them a few weeks later they were delicious!