Chances are that you bought some violets to have some flowers in early spring. Violets are real troopers and will still be flowering abundantly. Because by now they will have had several waves of flower, the flowers will now be completely free of pesticides, no matter where you bought them from. Which means you can eat them raw in salads, or do what I did and crystallize some for a wonderfully twee cupcake decoration.
There are two main species of violet that are suitable for this, viola odorata or viola tricolor. The odorata has the most violet flavour and the tricolor comes in most colourful variations. Crystallizing such delicate flowers is a somewhat fiddly job, but the results are worth it.
- Fresh blemish free violets, stem attached
- an egg white
- confectioners sugar
- normal crystallized sugar
Start by harvesting some perfect flowers. Keep a bit of stem on them to make them easy to handle.
Mix some egg white with confectioners sugar to form a thin paste, think wallpaper paste.
Dip a small brush in the paste and gently paint the front of the flower, trying to get in all the nooks and crannies. It helps to use your fingers as support beneath the delicate petals.
Now place the flower face down on some baking parchment and paint the back of the violet.
Pull the violet off the paper holding the stem. Lay it on its back again and sprinkle with some sugar.
Now it is time for them to dry. This takes a while but the process can be sped up by placing a fan near the violets to keep the air moving. First let the top dry until it is no longer tacky to the touch. Use the stem to lift them up and flip them so the bottom can dry as well. It is best to leave them to dry at least overnight.
Once dried you can break or cut of the stem and use them to decorate your sweet treats.