Wild harvest - homemade elderflower syrup & cheesecake

The sweet smell and taste of elderflower belongs to sunny summer days. Once the blossom blooms, you will see elder bushes everywhere: in the forest, on the slopes of dikes, on the roadside near meadows or in the park. Did you know that you can make delicious fresh and summery syrup and cheesecake from elderflower? Late May, early June is the perfect time to pick a few large white screens of the flowering elderberry. Preferably in the morning, when the flowers are dry, in a clean place where no cars are driving. A super fun annual tradition, and also great fun with children.

Elderflower has a wonderful aromatic scent and taste. The official name is Sambucus nigra and has been a beloved shrub for delicious dishes for centuries in all kinds of cultures. The elder tree was regarded by the Celts and the Germanic peoples as a sacred shrub dedicated to the god Thor. Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, also cherished the elder for its super healthy properties against emerging flu and strengthening the immune system. Both the blossom and the berries of the elder contain many active substances (flavonoids) that contain a powerful antiviral and antibacterial effect, which can boost your health.wildpluk recept vlierbloesem taart Antonius Magirus (1655) elderflower blossom recipes ideas
Elderflower can be used incredibly versatile. The freshly picked screens are delicious in pancakes, biscuits and fritters. You can drink elderflower fresh or dried in the tea or process it into syrup with which you can bake this cheesecake with ricotta, cinnamon and elderflower syrup. The recipe comes from the Koocboec of the Fleming Antonius Magirus from 1655, which is in the collection of the Allard Pierson Museum in Amsterdam. It is not the real name of the author, but a pseudonym, Magirus means cook in Greek and Latin. The cookbook was popular in wealthy circles in the 17th century and was reprinted in Antwerp in 1655 and 1663. Most of Magirus' recipes are based on the famous Italian cookbook: Opera dell'arte del cucinare from 1570 by Bartolomeo Scappi, Pope Pius V's personal cook. We tried the cheesecake recipe with elderflower syrup, ricotta, pine nuts and cinnamon.

Making elderflower syrup is fairly easy. All you need to harvest is scissors and a linen bag. Harvest the whole elderflower blossoms that are in full bloom and smell nice, honey-like. The taste of elderflower is mainly in the pollen. That is also the reason why you should not wash elderflower, because then the taste will be lost. Blow away any flies, preferably before you pick the blossom. Always leave enough blossom for bees, insects and birds. These turn into elderberries later in the year that you can make into a chutney. So double the fun!hoe maak je vlierbloesemsiroop?elderflower syrup
20 to 25 large elderflower umbels
1 liter water
2 organic lemons sliced
500 grams sugar (or 200 grams honey and 300 grams sugar)
1 teaspoon of citric acid per liter (= for a longer shelf life, for sale at the toko or online)

Place 20 elderflower umbels in a large pan and add the water, lemon slices and sugar. Cover the bowl with a linen tea towel and let it sit for 24 hours. Place the linen tea towel in a sieve and pour the water mixture with the blossoms through it. Put the strained water together with the sugar and citric acid in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Let the syrup boil for 3-4 minutes and pour it into a sterilized bottle. The syrup can also be kept without citric acid, but for a shorter period of time. 

variation 
Delicious aromatic summer drink with cold prosecco, a splash of sparkling spring water, a slice of lime and a sprig of mint. 

elderflower cheesecake by Antonius Magirus (1655) 
2 eggs
225 grams of flour
100 grams of soft butter + some to grease
75 grams of sugar
100 grams pine nuts
250 grams ricotta
generous pinch of cinnamon and/or ginger powder
100 ml elderflower syrup
lemon zest from 1 organic lemon

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Split the eggs. Knead the flour, butter, 50 grams of sugar and the egg yolks with a pinch of salt into a ball and put it in the fridge for half an hour. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a frying pan over a low heat until lightly browned. Mix the ricotta with the rest of the sugar (25 grams), egg whites, cinnamon, elderflower syrup, lemon zest of 1 organic lemon and add the toasted pine nuts.

Butter a low pie pan (17 cm). Roll out the dough on a floured work surface and divide the dough in the tin, making a raised edge. Pour the ricotta mixture over the bottom. Bake the cake in the oven for 45 minutes. Let cool and garnish with elderflower and strawberries or thin slices of lemon and some mint leaves.vlierbloesemtaart recept
reference
Transcription Koocboec oft Familieren Keukenboec by Antonius Magirus on magirus.net