elderflower ice cream

elderflower picking is always such a big deal for my family. this year we broke the tradition, though. we used to always go on sunday afternoons, me, mum and dad. this year we made two trips: mum&dad and a week later mum&me. it is like a well-known and comforting ritual: dressing in long sleeved hoodies and old jeans, tucking them into socks, putting on worn-out sports shoes.

mid-june. it is always the time, and the same place, 20 minutes drive from home, among breathtaking calm countryside. we park the car next to new soccer pitch that is hidden from curious eyes in the forest armed with scissors and bags we go by its edge, where sunlight is enough to let elderberry bush survive and it’s flowers blossom. this year we went there on tuesday, it was roughly midday. looking quite eccentric in our outfits, we walked through the fields, giggling at ourselves and enjoying sunrays brushing our faces, and the buzzing of countless bees and wasps hidden around us. walking from bush to bush, cutting rich open flowers we managed to fill two big bags and also catch a lot of green bugs and ants. it always has some amount of child-like adventure to it, walking though waist-high nettles and grass, looking out for huge snails, trying not to fall into deep and dirty ponds. in the end, walking back with face bitten by mosquitoes, hands itching from scratches and bags filled with creamy-white tiny flowers, we smile and immediately think of next time.
at home, we put the flowers into the biggest pots we own and pour water over them. then i sit cross-legged on the floor and pick bugs and ants from the surface of water with a teaspoon. the mixture is left overnight and house fills with sweet nauseating scent. next morning i bring bags of sugar from the basement while my sister squeezes dozens of lemons. the water without flowers is brought to boil and whole kitchen is filled with hot fragrant steam. this year there are 80 big jars of cordial stocked on shelves in basement-kitchen, altogether.

we always leave a bit to drink immediately, mixed with peppermint and lemon balm infusion. it tastes like childhood.

elderflower ice cream recipe
500 ml heavy cream
a few elderflowers
 150 ml sweetened condensed milk
6 egg yolks
6 tsp sugar vanilla extract or liquor

pour 500 ml heavy cream over elderflowers (there must be a lot of those, so much that cream barely covers them, for best intense taste) bring to boil, boil for 5 minutes, let cool down by itself.
when it's cold take out flowers, add 150 ml of sweetened condensed milk and again bring to boil, stirring.
in the meantime beat 6 egg yolks with 6 spoons of sugar until white and fluffy.
slowly pour in cream and boil 2-3 minutes to make custard. cool it down in cold water bath, add a splash of vanilla extract or any liquor that matches in taste.
freeze in ice cream machine according to instructions.


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