Friday, April 4, 2008

Fairy Home Companion

"Fairy Home Companion" is another one of the books we've compiled here at The Essential Herbal. Inside this luscious little book, are all kinds of recipes, crafting instructions, gardening ideas, and original works of fairy fiction for anyone who adores the wee fae folke. This litte gem of a book will give you plenty of ideas to ponder. You'll know which flowers to plant, how to keep the fairies safe once they've gotten cozy in your garden, and what they'd like to eat. Step into the garden with us and believe!

Below, I'm posting the recipes that were submitted by my sweet friend Sarah Liberta for the book.

by Sarah Liberta

My friend Artie Lyons calls this her twenty-minute cake. She says, “With supplies on hand, if a friend calls to say she’s coming over, I can have a cake ready by the time she arrives.” We love it with a colorful assortment of fresh flowers strewn over the lush white cream frosting, but when flowers are scarce, the petals of a single rose or a calendula will do just fine.

1 frozen pound cake (16 oz.), defrosted
1 pint whipping cream
1/3 C sugar
2 T raspberry or strawberry jam or preserves
1 T framboise or strawberry liqueur
1 C mixed fresh edible flowers, washed and dried on paper towels

Put whipping cream, mixing bowl and beaters into freezer to chill a few minutes. Slice the cake horizontally into three equal layers and place bottom layer on serving platter. Put preserves in a small dish and heat in microwave for 30 seconds or until melted; stir in liqueur. Whip cream with sugar until firm. Brush 1/2 of fruit mixture over cut side of cake; top with about 3/4 cup of whipped cream; spread evenly. Top with middle layer; repeat with fruit and cream. Put top layer in place and cover entire cake with remaining cream, using spatula to make swirls. Scatter flowers and petals over top and sides and around the base of cake. Serve immediately or store in refrigerator for a few hours.

Variation: For a different look and flavor, add 1/3 cup unsweetened baking cocoa to cream and sugar before whipping. Fold into whipped cream one 6-ounce package of butter toffee bits, less 2/3 cup of toffee. Use apricot jam and apricot brandy instead of raspberry or strawberry. When cake is covered with cocoa cream, sprinkle with remaining toffee bits. Decorate with golden-colored flowers and petals: calendula, sunflowers, lemon gem marigolds, Mexican mint marigold (Spanish tarragon).

Variation 2: After filling and stacking the layers, cut the pound cake down the middle lengthwise and then cut each half into 3 or 4 equal pieces, forming 6 or 8 mini-cakes. Cover each with cream and decorate with flowers. Or use your favorite pound cake recipe, bake in 8 mini-loaf pans (2” x 4”) and finish as above. Each mini-cake serves 2 tiny fairies.

Flowers that have a mild or slightly sweet flavor -- such as violets, pansies, Johnny-jump-ups, pinks, and roses -- are especially lovely when prepared this way. With a supply of these on hand, you can turn the simplest packaged pudding into an elegant surprise.

1 C edible flowers, washed and dried on paper towels
powdered egg white or meringue powder, mixed with water to equal 1 egg white
1 C superfine sugar (or process regular sugar in the blender for a few seconds)

1 small artist’s paintbrush (unused)
sterilized tweezers or forceps
waxed paper

Line a tray or sheet pan with waxed paper, sprinkle with sugar (to keep flowers from sticking). Holding a single flower by the stem with tweezers or forceps, paint its entire surface with the egg mixture. Any area unpainted will turn brown. Sprinkle with sugar to coat thoroughly on both sides. Place on waxed paper to dry. Repeat until all flowers are coated with sugar. Allow to dry till crisp, which may take from several hours to several days, depending on size of flowers. Small flat flowers will dry rather quickly, while whole roses or other large flowers may take a few days to dry thoroughly. Store in an airtight container. Use to decorate cakes, petit fours, candies (truffles, fudge squares), puddings and other desserts.


1/2 C red rose petals
1 T lemon juice
1/2 C cranberry juice
2 C vanilla ice cream, slightly softened

Whirl rose petals in a blender for a few seconds with lemon and cranberry juices. Add ice cream and pulse a few times. Serve in stemmed glasses with fresh or candied rose petals for garnish.


Substitute 1/4 cup fresh open lavender blossoms (or 1 T dried buds) for the rose petals and grape juice for cranberry. Proceed as above, garnishing with lavender blossoms, violets or Johnny-jump-ups.

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