I have a love for old fashioned, very old-skool flavourings and garnishes. I adore candied violets and roses, all the floral flavourings: orange blossom water, rose water, violet essence, jasmine *sigh* just gorgeous!
One garnish that I remember from my (English) childhood is candied angelica. This herb, with its long, hollow, celery looking stems is sugared using the syrup method and becomes shiny, bright green, super-beautiful glace angelica. I remember it on top of mummy’s trifles, usually a sliver on each side of a glace cherry. There was also a birthday party “must-have” that featured the cherry/angelica combo – we called them Madeleines but these bubbies were nothing like the French tea cake. No, these were wonderful mini towers of sponge, baked in a dariole-type mould and then finished, lamington-like, in raspberry jam and coconut. I get very nostalgic when I think of them.
So, once again, it’s nostalgia that drives me…Glace/candied angelica is not so easy to find nowadays. You can get it online but it’s expensive. I had a brilliant idea! I am going to try and candy some celery to replicate the garnish I crave!
You may be interested to know that angelica belongs to the same family as parsley, dill and yes, celery. Used for medicinal purposes for centuries, angelica remains a favourite herbal remedy in both Western and Chinese (where it is known as Dong Quai) medicine. In medieval times it was used to ward off plague and offered protection against witchcraft – most probably because of its botanical name – Angelica Archangelica, how romantic is that name? Gorgeous!
Back to my glace celery! I am thinking of using the tender, inner stems of the celery. I will add green food colouring to the sugar syrup and wing it! Glace/candied fruits taste mostly of sugar anyway and the celery, whilst it can’t taste like the distinctive herbiness angelica offers, should offer a suitable, not-too-assertive flavour.
Wish me luck dear friends! I will photograph and post the process when I get around to it 🙂