If there’s one thing I’ve learned from living in an area that has four seasons, is not to get too excited at the first warm, sunny day. Mother nature always seems to bring several more weeks of frost and a few days of snow. This year the trees, tulips and daffodils were in full bloom while several inches of snow fell. What finally gets me in gear are the few, short weeks that our lilac bushes bloom. The blossoms are a sight to behold and their scent is intoxicating. What I love most is that the blossoms are edible, enhancing baked goods, pastry creams, sorbets, syrups and flavored sugars. Lilacs add subtle floral notes to this cake’s moist, tender crumb, making it perfect for spring and the warmer weather ahead….
Although many parts of the world today have year-round access to a variety of seasonal foods, we still feel there is no match in flavor to a season ripened fruit, vegetable or flower. Each season rings in with the anticipation of foods that will become abundant for a brief period of time and are perfectly matched to quenching the body’s seasonal cravings. Second in flavor to fresh, are the preserved versions of these seasonal foods, made at the height of ripeness. Fortunately, both lilacs and berries come into season at the same time, so we are busy creating dishes, both old and new, that incorporate both the lilacs and the berries. This nectarous combination of thin cakes, blackberry sauce, lilac syrup and lilac cream is visually opulent and outrageously delicious….
Spring and summer definitely vie for top position as my favorite season – especially after a cold, snowy winter. Spring is the great awakening – from the first whispers of budding flowers, birds choosing their mates and building nests to full blown blooms and the chirping of newly hatched chicks from garden nests. We are fortunate to have nine mature lilac bushes in our yard, their buds and blooms signifying that Spring is on! I look forward to their blossoms each year, trying to indulge in their scent as often as possible, before they disappear for another year. Then I discovered they’re edible and have a fresh, slightly tangy, subtle floral taste. By making jellies, syrups, sugars and sorbets with the blossoms, I knew I could enjoy one of my favorite flowers throughout the year….