Monday, April 27, 2009

Beltane Recipe: Faery Cakes

Elder is long regarded as sacred and is intimately connected with magic. It is a tree of Venus and is associated with the element of air. In its branches was supposed to dwell a dryad, Hylde-Moer, the Elder-tree Mother, who lived in the tree and watched over it. Many people would not cut down the tree to make furniture or to burn the wood for fear of upsetting the elder-mother.

Thought to ward off evil spirits, it was considered good luck to plant elder near one’s home for protection. The word elder probably comes from the Anglo-Saxon word “aeld” meaning fire.

The secret to anything made with elderflowers is to pick them on a hot sunny day. If you are using wild elder, make sure you correctly identify the tree with the help of a knowledgeable friend and/or an excellent identification book. Do not use elder that grows along a heavily traveled road/highway, and be sure the area has not been treated or sprayed.

Elder Flower Faery Cakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  1. In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, vanilla, egg and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled (I use coconut oil) griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Sprinkle roughly half an elderflower head into the cooking pancake, snipping or hand stripping the flowerletts off the green stalks. Once bubbles have formed in the cake, flip over and brown on the other side. Serve hot with honey, syrup or jam.

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