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….
Our garden’s annual hallmarks proclaiming Spring’s arrival are the rise of the tulips and daffodils and the budding lilac blossoms on our nine lilac bushes. The presence of the blossoms is invigorating and just the inspiration needed to transition from the lethargy of winter to the energetic, breakneck pace of the planting, growing and canning seasons. The heavenly scent of lilac blossoms wafting through an open window is captivating, drawing everyone closer, each wanting to capture more of its ephemeral scent, even if only for a brief, illusive moment. Fading almost as quickly as it appeared, it always leaves me yearning for more of its enigmatic scent.