Family fun

I’m not really sure how we first discovered Elderflower cordial by Belvoir Fruit Farms. Perhaps it was their beautiful branding that caught our eye, but ever since we bought our first bottle it’s been pretty much a staple drink in our house. It’s light, refreshing, flowery taste is super thirst quenching. In fact both families love it here at Each Pear Pear Plum, the grown ups and all the children!

Belvoir Fruit Farms are a local family business, started by Lady Mary Manners who used to pick Elderflower in the villages of the Vale of Belvoir and turn it into cordial. Her drink was so popular among the locals that demand soared and Belvoir Fruit Farms was created. With 14 varieties of cordial and 20 presses now added to their range, Belvoir drinks are sold all over the world.

Both Each and Pear are at school in the lovely countryside in the Vale of Belvoir. The hedgerows are bursting full of delicate Elderflower at this time of year. The elderflowers in Belvoir Elderflower cordial are sourced locally, with 60 tonnes of elderflower needed to fulfil demand for their beautiful elderflower cordial and presse. As well as their own farms, Belvoir rely on local community to harvest the Elderflower in return for payment. With weighing stations in the four counties of Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire it’s a popular activity to do either with children or if you are looking to make some extra pocket money.

Last week we headed down to London with Belvoir Fruit Farms to celebrate the Elderflower harvest and meet the fabulous Lisa Faulkner, winner of celebrity Masterchef and author of four recipe books. The plan was to get ten blogging families baking Lisa’s wonderful Elderflower Madeleines.

Both Sarah and I brought our eldest children, Each and Pear, who love a spot of baking. We were pleased to spot a familiar smile in the crowd as Alice and Elfie from More than Toast (one of our very favourite blogs btw, go and pay her a visit) arrived.

Lisa’s Elderflower Madeleines weren’t just any old Madeleines, oh no. Created in the shape of a hot air balloon, complete with a flapjack basket, they were totally gorgeous (she’s a clever thing!) Carefully following Lisa’s instructions we worked together to create our pretty as a picture Elderflower treats. The decorating part wasn’t quite as easy as Lisa made it look but the little ones did their best to decorate their hot air balloons. Before we knew it we had a room full of colourful mini hot air balloons, all that was left to do was try them!

As you will see in the recipe, Elderflower cordial was added to the Madeleine mixture as well as the icing which we used to decorate. The addition of the elderflower made for a beautiful light hint of elderflower goodness that we couldn’t get enough of! It left us thinking of clever ways we could add Elderflower into some of our favourite baking recipes. We agreed Elderflower cupcakes with elderflower buttercream would be a good shout and what about some Elderflower curd, sounds delicious doesn’t it? I think because of it’s subtle flavour it really lends itself well to baking. You can visit the Belvoir website for some more fantastic recipes. But for now, here is the gorgeous Elderflower Madeleines recipe will are guaranteed to love!

Elderflower Madeleines (makes 12)

For the Madeleines:

  • 70g melted unsalted butter (plus 20g extra for greasing)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 125g plain flour + a little extra for dusting
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp Belvoir Elderflower and rose cordial (or just Elderflower cordial)

For the icing:

  • 150g icing sugar
  • 1tbsp Belvoir Elderflower Cordial
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • food colouring
  • cocktail sticks
  • paper piping bags
  • 12 flapjack squares (for the baskets)

Method:

  1. Whisk the eggs and sugar until they are light and fluffy. The whisk should leave a ribbon trail on the surface of the mixture when you lift up. It needs to double in volume which takes around 6 minutes in a stand mixer.
  2. Lightly fold in the other ingredients. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile brush the madeleine tray with melted butter, leave to set, then dust with a little flour, knocking out any excess.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200c/Fan180c/Gas mark 6
  5. Gently spoon the madeleine batter into the moulds and bake for 8-10 minutes until lightly golden.
  6. Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
  7. Mix the icing sugar with the cordial and lemon juice until you have a smooth pipeable icing. Divide into 4 and make them different colours with food colouring. Spoon into small piping bags and cut off the tips so they pipe nice and thin.
  8. Pipe the icing over the madeleines to make patterns.
  9. Use a cocktail sticks inserted into the base of each balloon, skewer into flapjack squares to make them into hot air balloons.

A huge thank you to Lisa for being so kind, friendly and supportive with all the children (and grown ups). She really is a lovely, lovely lady a perfect ambassador for Belvoir, with their slogan ‘Naturally lovely drinks’. And of course to the fabulous Belvoir, we were already fans of your brands but now we are super fans!

Don’t forget there is still time to get picking elderflower for Belvoir. We can’t live without our elderflower!

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