Thursday, April 02, 2009

Edible Flowers in Aspic

Cheese with Edible Flowers in Aspic
Cheese with Edible Flowers in Aspic

Many years ago I had the chance to host a bridal shower for my best friend. This very easy to do cheese was a show-stopper. It's so simple to do, but so pretty that everyone is wow-ed by it. This is the perfect spring centerpiece.

The best part is, even though it may look expensive, it's actually quite cheap to make. The first one I made was of the whitest cheese I could find, a beautiful goat's milk Gruyere I discovered at the Allentown Farmer's Market. If I recall correctly, that chunk of cheese cost a hefty chunk of change and I decided that from now on, a slightly 'off-white' cheese would do just as well.

This one in particular is a simple Muenster cheese that I trimmed of any orange rind and cut into a round with a 3-inch biscuit cutter. I think the effect is quite nice. The flowers are wild violets - a lawn nightmare for some - and can be found growing almost anywhere in warm weather. I found mine on the edge of the sidewalk on a nearby street. DO NOT pick these if you think they've been treated by pesticides in any way or have been christened by a dog or cat. It's best to set aside a patch in your yard specifically for edible uses. The only other must-have ingredient is Knox gelatin - a single package. The leaves I used for the background were wild strawberry and extra wild violet leaves.

Any edible flower can be used here, the flatter the better, but any size can work if you're willing to take the time to sufficiently cover it with aspic. You can also use herbs or a combination of herbs and flowers. Sometimes the only edible part of a flower is the petals, so the green can be obtained by using a fresh herb.

Here's what to do:

1. Trim cheese to desired shape and place flowers and/or herbs in desired pattern.
2. Remove flowers and/or herbs and set aside.
3. Prepare aspic: Combine 1 envelope Knox gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water or white wine (a blush wine would look pretty with pink-hued flowers). Stir well. Heat another 1/2 cup of water or wine to boiling and add to the mixture. Stir until gelatin is dissolved.
4. Place the cheese on a rack over a shallow pan - or on a plate.
5. Coat once with aspic by pouring a thin coating over cheese with a spoon. Place flowers and/or herbs back in the desired design and coat again with aspic.
6. If using a plate, scoop or gently pour any aspic that has drained from the cheese back into the bowl.
7. Continue spooning aspic over flowers and cheese - as evenly as possible - until flowers are completely encased in aspic.
8. To speed things along, you can put the cheese into the refrigerator between coatings, but be sure to keep the bowl of aspic from setting while you work.
9. Chill until completely set and serve as desired.


Brenda Campbell said...

That is a very cool idea! I like it!

Kristen said...

That is a great idea - and so pretty!

Anonymous said...

so pretty!!!!

Hope you all are well!

Suzy said...

That is really beautiful! So...I've never eaten an aspic per se. Do you really notice the gelatin much?

Anne Coleman said...

Hi, Suzy - There's no flavor at all to this aspic (unlike many others), but I still peel it before eating - gelatinous cheese is just a little weird lol

giz said...

I love that - it looks so festive and springy.

Suzy said...

Thanks Anne for answering my question! I guess that was actually what I was thinking but wasn't going to say it lol.

LVCI said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anne Coleman said...

LVCI- I didn't see any other comment! Did you mean on another post?

LVCI said...

I'll try again.

I always like these things..

How to Make an Edible Fruit Bouquet

Anne Coleman said...

LVCI Have you made one? They see, like SO much work - especially for around here. My kids would have it gone in no time flat! We did really cool stuff like that in school, just smaller scale.

Anne Coleman said...

seem* like so much work - :)

Thistlemoon said...

That cheese looks fantastic! I love love love goats cheese!

Anonymous said...

Not only is is beautiful, it looks scrumptious!

Nicolina said...

That cheese looks fantastic!Thanks the idee .

Lydia said...

This looks grand! My kids have been interested in edible flowers lately and I think they'd love this. You could even use some floral essence in the aspic (orange blossom, rose water, jasmine or lavender essence), and I bet chevre would be a good base as well.

One caution: picking flowers or any plants for consumption out of lawns/roadsides can be hazardous if you don't know their practice with pesticide applications (often quite heavy in those areas)!

kellypea said...

How beautiful! I have always wanted to make these and have always chickened out. What a perfect special touch for Mother's Day brunch, I'm thinking. ; )