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Fläderblomsglass (Elderflower Ice Cream) for Midsommar #EattheWorld

Eat the World
Another year. Another cooking project. Yeah, I'm a sucker for any cooking project that gets us out of our own culinary traditions. So, I was excited to see the new #EattheWorld project, being spearheaded by Evelyne of CulturEatz. Here's her challenge.

In February we kicked off the project with Cuba; in March we celebrated St. Patrick's Day with a tabletop trip to IrelandThailand was our April destination. And last month has us headed to Kenya. This month, Evelyne asked us to create a dish from Sweden. Given the posting date in June, I wanted to create a dish in honor of midsummer. But first, here are the other Swedish offerings...

The Swedish Dishes
Celebrating Midsommar
Most of the people I know who actually celebrate Midsummer - marking the summer solstice - are northern Europeans. So, I decided to look at Swedish traditions as my mother-in-law is half Swedish and half Portuguese. We don't get to see her as often as we'd like, but I figured this was a nice way to honor her heritage.

Midsommar celebrations in Sweden were held to herald in summertime and the celebrate the season of fertility. In some parts of the country, people dressed up as ‘green men' by draping themselves in ferns and other greenery. They decorated their houses and farm tools with foliage, and raised leafy maypoles around which they danced.

Midsummer Night, being the summer solstice, is the lightest and longest day of the year. In Sweden and other parts of northern Europe it is considered a magical night and a night for foreseeing people’s futures. It is said that girls devoured salted porridge before bedtime and whoever, in their dreams, brought them water to quench their thirst was their future husband. Also, it was said, water was turned into wine and ferns into flowers for midsummer.

The cornerstones of a good midsummer are freshly picked flowers, such as daisies and clover. There's a legend that if you pick seven kinds of flowers and put them under your pillow on Midsummer's Eve, you'll dream of the person you're to spend your life with. The Midsommar feast table is always heavy on seasonal and local foods.

Foraging Elderflowers

Every summer, when we head to the Eastern Sierras, I spy elderflower bushes and trees all over the place and I am envious.

When we spend part of our annual 10-day camping trip with my in-laws at Blue Lake, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I head out to pick the blossoms. I try to preserve them in a cold syrup to capture their essence and bring it home with me.

After our Mothers' Day hike here a couple of weeks ago, my boys spotted some bushes and we jumped out of car to pluck some bunches from the trees. I made them into a simple syrup that afternoon and we poured Foraged Elderflower Sparklers for our Mothers' Day dinner.

I even liberated some clusters on a recently camping trip with D's class. We talked briefly about foraging before I turned these into a simple syrup with which they sweetened their Horchata and Agua de Jamaica.

Fläderblomsglass (Elderflower Ice Cream)
Having tested many recipes for Edible Monterey Bay, I always use the tips and trade secrets from local chefs to improve my own recipes. This one is based on the parsnip-nutmeg ice cream from Chef Kendra Baker of Penny Ice Creamery...obviously this has neither parsnip nor nutmeg, but she clearly knows what's she's doing in regards to the proportion of cream to egg yolks!

And somehow fläderblomsglass (elderflower ice cream) seems particularly Swedish, probably because fläderblomssaft (elderflower cordial) is so popular in Sweden.

Reserve your egg white for another special dish. I made Lavender-Salted Meringues with mine. They were both beautiful and delicious!


Ice Cream
  • 4 C heavy cream
  • 2 C milk
  • 1/3 C organic granulated sugar
  • 1/3 C elderflower simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 10 egg yolks
  • 1/2 t salt
  • zest from 1 organic lemon
  • 1 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 T elderflower liqueur (I used homemade, but you can use St. Germain or another brand)
  • Also needed: ice cream machine, ice

Elderflower Simple Syrup
  • 2 C elderflower blooms, destemmed
  • 1-1/2 C water
  • 1-1/2 C organic granulated sugar

Elderflower Simple Syrup
Place water and sugar in a medium sauce pan. Heat to a simmer, swirling until the sugar crystals are completely dissolved. Stir the flowers into the syrup and press down so that they are completely submerged. 

Remove from heat and let steep until the syrup is completely cooled.

Strain out the flowers and pour the syrup into a clean lidded jar. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Ice Cream
Pour cream and milk into a medium saucepan. Whisk in the sugar and salt. Heat over a medium heat on the stovetop.

Separate egg yolks. Whisk to break up and set aside.

When the milk-cream mixture begins to steam, temper the yolks. Slowly pour in 1/2 C of the warm milk-cream mixture while whisking. Once tempered, you can pour the egg yolks into the saucepan.  Stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spatula. As it's thickening, add in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and 2 T elderflower liqueur.

When custard is thickened, stir in the remaining 2 T elderflower liqueur. Remove custard from the heat into place it into an ice bath. Stir it occasionally and, when cool enough, press a piece of plastic wrap across the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Allow it to finish cooling, then let it rest in the refrigerator overnight - or for at least 8 hours.

When ready to churn, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for the use of your ice cream machine. One of my best friends let me use hers while we were at her house for a dinner party. This made a little more 2 quarts in 25 minutes.

Without a Machine?
If you don't have an ice cream machine, or have access to one, whip your custard for 4 to 5 minutes and transfer to an ice cream container. Press a plastic wrap into the top and freeze. Remove the mixture from the freezer every 30 minutes or so an break up the crystals with a fork. Return to the freezer and repeat until the mixture is thoroughly frozen, approximately 2 to 3 hours.

Serving Suggestions
Besides just scooping the Fläderblomsglass into small bowls and digging in with a spoon... we also...

...made Fläderblomsglass floats with some lemon-elderflower soda. And I drowned some in espresso for an elderflower-kissed affogato.


  1. I love elderflower lemonade. The idea of it as a float sounds divine!

  2. Hi Camilla, lovely stories of you adventures foraging in the great outdoors. There is something so soothing and fulfilling searching for earths great flavors. I never have tried elderflower but my curiosity is peaked. I will have to find out where I can locate some and try your ice cream, but really I am a fan of floats, they are just too good.

  3. This is another flavor I don't think that I've had before. I've seen it used a lot lately. I should get some and try it.

  4. Nice Cam....three great recipes using elderflowers. I don't even know if they grow around here. Off to do some research.

  5. Great recipe Cam! And I loved reading about all the background as well!

  6. How fun! I don’t think I have ever tried elderflower before. Looks delicious!

  7. Impressive! I have never had elderflowers.

  8. So cool to read about Midsommar Camilla. Until I came across my recipe, i SWEAR I was planing on making elderflower ice cream. We are a little too connected lol. But I could not find hand picked done, that is cool.

  9. My mom was from Wisconsin, with German & French ancestry. She told me about her Grossmutter (grandmother) and Grossfatter (grandfather), as well as her aunts, great aunts, uncles and great uncles, who all would used to get together to make Elderflower Fritters, in which the entire elderflower florescence (sprig or panicle of tiny elder blossoms) were dipped in a very light batter and deep-fried, then sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, apparently to be eaten while still hot from the fryer. I think it was done outdoors, as part of a sort of a rite of Spring/Early Summer, maybe the Vernal Equinox? Also they made Elderflower Wine and Elderflower cordial, a sort of sweet liqueur. The Elderberries were used to make pancakes, syrup, jam, jellies, cordial, medicinal compounds and tonics, and I think the Elder plant's wood also had special properties that were valued for different purposes as well - possibly carving or whittling? They may have used the roots as well. In Wisconsin there were Menomenee Native Americans who also used the Elder plant for various culinary, medicinal & cultural purposes.

    My mother's family also made Dandelion Wine and a sort of coffee substitute made from roasted Dandelion roots. It contained no caffeine, but apparently tasted pretty much like coffee. Many plants that others looked upon as weeds or unwanted wild plants were harvested for culinary and/or medicinal purposes, and cultural links to the "old country". I think it is wonderful that recipes like these are being revived and enjoyed; I just would like to read or learn more about the origins of these recipes and their purposes from the elders in the community who still remember the original recipes, purposes and practices and who can provide written and/or oral history in which these recipes can be viewed within their original cultural and historical context. Maybe people who still have living relatives who remember these original recipes can do an oral history project by recording the stories and memories of these things before they are lost to time? I'd be willing to bet that senior citizens in our communities would love to share their knowledge and memories and family traditions with the younger generations. Often these folks do not feel valued for their wisdom and experience; in these cases, they have direct knowledge of things that were done in a traditional, Old World way that cannot be replaced. Sure would like to see someone preserve these things.


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