An aromatic and graceful herb that I grow in my garden; Angelica is a member of the Parsley family, and is known mostly for it's candied stems for cake decorating, as well as the leaves for teas, tisanes, jams and desserts. It is known as 'Herb of the Angels' (hence the name) because it was believed to have ancient medicinal properties. This elegant tall plant has a long firm stem and bright green leaves. If you have the time to candy your own angelica, it is well worth the effort - the commercial varieties have added colourants and flavourings, which is such a shame, as the subtle flavour of this beautiful herb needs no additives whatsoever. The instructions may seem longwinded, but it is very easy and is just repeating the same actions over several days, before drying them on a rack or screen and storing. Use the stems to decorate cakes, trifles and desserts.
- Please note, in order to have this recipe posted, I had to put in quantities - they are approximate, depending on how many stems you are candying!
- Cut angelica stalks in their 2nd year. Unlike many other plants, the big stalks are better as long as they are still green (not purple or white).
- De-leaf, remove leaf stalks and cut into pieces of about 6 inches, and soak in cold water for about 8 hours.
- Boil water and plunge the stalks inches Boil until the stalks begin to soften (add about half teaspoon of baking soda per pint of water to keep the vivid green colour, which is associated with ‘real’ candied angelica that is found in France) It also helps to soften.
- Cool under running water, drain, then peel removing the long stringy parts on the outside of the stalks.
- Put them into a syrup made up of of 1 cup sugar, and 1 cup water; soak for 24 hours.
- Cook in them in the syrup and repeat once a day for four days, by which time the angelica should be translucent without losing shape.
- Remove the angelica stems from the pan and let them drain on a covered rack or screen until dry and glossy.
- N.B.(You can roll the stems in caster sugar, BEFORE drying them on the rack/screen if you wish.).
- Store in an airtight tin or jar, and in a cool, dark place; they will last for up to 2 years in the right storage conditions.
- Cut the stems into appropriate lengths and use to decorate cakes, trifles, desserts or ice cream sundaes.