Hold your horses…
There are a few too many Sicilian flowers in this recipe for my liking. Just too much perfume. I’m going to change the formula (no offense, Peter!) and perhaps eliminate the fiori completely. I think some extra vanilla plus some orange zest is all the perfume I need. Otherwise, I’d put a teaspoon of Fiori di Sicilia in this, tops.
10 thoughts on “Hold your horses…”
So glad you read your recommendation as I am still waiting on my bake ware and feeding my starter. Safe travels!
I bought Fiori di Sicilia for the first time recently, and I decided to add 1/2 tsp to my favorite buttermilk cake. (Flo Braker’s buttermilk cake, in case you’re wondering.) Whoa! Just 1/2 tsp turned it into something else altogether — it was way, way too much. I’ve since read that people add it to batters using an eye-dropper, and now I understand why. That said, the aroma of this stuff is to die for. Even if you never use it, just take a whiff every once in a while!
I have found that orange and lemon extracts can also be overwhelming. Do you think that using grated lemon and orange rinds alone, without any extracts, would work? (I might go that route.)
Yes you certainly could. Personally I like the combo (extracts are much tamer than oils, by the way, I wonder if that’s what you mean) but be sure to use the grated rinds of at least a couple of oranges. Funny thing about Fiori di Sicilia, it smells like nothing but orange and vanilla in the bottle, but when you heat it (i.e. bake it) all those floral aromas are released and suddenly you’re standing in your own kitchen rose garden. It’s an amazing transformation. But a tablespoon for two panettones is a whole lotta too much.
I feel that way about rosewater and orange flower water – the smell is intoxicating in a way that quickly becomes cloying in a food item. A little of either goes a long, long way. That said, this sounds so intriguing that I’ll try to track it down. I’m not a fan of panettone (cooked dried fruit in baked goods is a travesty, frankly), but what else would one use this for?
Try it with candied fruit and I think you’ll be pleased, Nicole. As for Fiori applications, I’d say you can use it as you would orange or rose flower water…to add a little interest to cookie doughs, cream fillings and sweet breads.
Wow Fiori di Sicilia sounds amazing! I’d love to have some to use, but until I do, I’m glad you also made the suggestion that just the zest works too.
I have always had an aversion to heavily flavored (by extracts, oils and zests) baked goods and was inspired one day by a technique that was used by Dorie Greenspan in one of her recipes (can’t remember which recipe at the moment…in my old age!) She rubbed sugar with a strip of lemon zest in the recipe that she didn’t want flecks of zest in the finished product and that technique sent bells and lightbulbs going off in my head. Much like vanilla sugar, these zested or herbed sugars can be used in so many applications. I’ve had a blast playing with them in baked goods and sauces. The sugar itself is a preservative, so I imagine it could be made in quanity and stored, though I haven’t done that; haven’t really needed to do it. Would it lose some potency or freshness if stored at length, do you think/know?
That’s amazing, Susan. How exactly did she do it? Pour the sugar out and rub lemon rind on it? I’m fascinated.
Regarding your question, the flavor of any sugar infused with fresh lemon zest will fall off sharply after a day or two, since those essential oils have a way of breaking down in air. Herbs will last longer, but not terribly much longer before their flavors and aromas will likewise start to get “tired”.
You’ve inspired me to try these!
Thanks for addressing the possible longevity of citrus flavored sugar, Joe.
In the recipe where I discovered this, Dorie measured out the sugar, as I recall, and rubbed the sugar and the strip of lemon zest together with her fingertips. I would imagine you could use a muddler or mortor and pestal. I’ve rubbed mint, lemon, orange zest with sugar to put into iced tea and it fragrances the tea lightly without any bitterness. I used in and on short cookies and custards. The sugar aquires some coloring from tender herbs, so be aware of that.
I’ve flavored course flaked salt, as well, using basil and oregano and garlic to flavor it as a sprinkling garnish for various things, too. It depends on how stong and complementary the herb as to how well it will stand up to the salt. I’m still experimenting as the inspiration strikes me!
I just love this technique. The more oily the flavoring medium, the more potent the flavor it imparts.
Wow, neat. I’d actually never heard of that technique before, but it makes complete sense. Once my flu is over I’ll give it a spin! Thanks,