Summer is such an awesome time to explore the taste of herbs in new and unique ways. Chop up a little basil and throw it in you salad; calendula petals are a great addition to omelettes; borage and lemon balm taste wonderful in fruit salads… The list goes on!

This month we thought we would share some of our favourite summer baking treats with you as all of these are best made using fresh herbs and fruit. Enjoy!

 

Blueberry Lemon Balm Muffins

There is nothing better than fresh blueberry muffins and lemon balm is a wonderful addition to these yummy muffins!

12 lemon balm leaves

1 cup superfine sugar

6 Tbsp. fresh lemon balm, minced

1 ½ cup fresh blueberries

2 cup all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ cup milk

1/3 cup light vegetable oil (sunflower, safflower etc.)

1 egg

Bury the 12 lemon balm leaves in the superfine sugar in a tightly closed container. Let stand overnight.

Combine minced lemon balm, and blueberries, in one bowl. Mix together flour, baking powder, and granulated sugar in another bowl. Whisk together milk, oil, and egg in a mixing bowl. Add flour mixture and stir until just blended.

Fold in blueberry mixture. Divide batter into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with a little of the lemon-scented superfine sugar.

Bake in a preheated 400F oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove muffins and cool on rack. Sprinkle lightly with additional lemon-scented superfine sugar before serving.

 

Calendula and Orange Cake

This sophisticated cake is sure to wow guests this summer. It tastes amazing!

 Cake batter

5 eggs

2 lemons, zest of, grated

1 orange, zest of, grated

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1/2 cup butter, softened to room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1 cup sour cream

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 cup calendula flowers, (petals only) chopped

Syrup topping

1/2 cup orange juice

1/4 cup Grand Marnier

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Separate eggs and beat whites until they form stiff peaks. In spate bowl, cream butter and sugar together and add egg yolks, lemon rind, orange rind, sour cream and yogurt.

Blend till smooth. Sift dry ingredients together. Slowly add dry ingredients to butter mixture, mixing well. Gently fold in beaten egg whites and calendula petals. Butter and flour an angel food cake pan then pour in cake batter. Bake for 60 minute. Remove from oven and cool in pan 10 min, before removing to a cooling rack and allowing to cool completely.

Combine orange juice, Grand Marnier, lemon juice, and1/4 cup granulated sugar in a saucepan over a low heat. Bring to a boil, and then simmer for 3 minute. Pour hot syrup over cooled cake and garnish with calendula petals

 

Ginger-Peach Pie  

Crystallized ginger adds a spicy-sweet flavor and a gentle touch of heat to this chunky pie filling.

1/2-3/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons finely chopped crystallized ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground mace

6 cups thinly sliced peeled peaches or frozen unsweetened peach slices

Pastry for Double-Crust pie

milk

sugar

In a large mixing bowl combine the 1/2-3/4 cup sugar, the flour, crystallized ginger, and mace. Add fresh or frozen peaches. Toss gently till peaches are coated. (If using frozen peaches, let stand for 15-30 minutes, or till peaches are partially thawed but still icy.)

Prepare pastry as directed. Line a 9-inch pie plate with half of the pastry. Stir peach mixture; transfer to pastry-lined pie plate. Trim pastry even with rim. Cut slits in top crust. Place crust on filling. Trim, seal, and crimp edge of pastry. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar. To prevent overbrowning, cover edge of pie with foil. Bake in a preheated 375° oven for 25 minutes for fresh peaches (50 minutes for frozen peaches). Remove foil and bake for 20-25 minutes more for fresh peaches (20-30 minutes for frozen peaches), or till top is golden. Cool on a rack.

 

Lemon Verbena Mousse

Simply divine best describes this marriage of cream and the delicate lemon taste of lemon verbena. This dessert is like eating a lemon creamsicle!

2 cups milk

1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves or 1/4 cup dried

1/2 cup sugar

1 Tbsp. cornstarch

1 envelope unflavoured gelatin

2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten

½ tsp. lemon extract

1 cup heavy cream

Heat milk and lemon verbena over low heat just until bubbles form along the sides of the saucepan. In a cup combine the sugar, cornstarch and gelatin. Stir into the milk. Turn the heat up to medium and bring just to a boil. Stir constantly. Stir part of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolks, beating with a whisk to incorporate. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk mixture in the saucepan. Cook 1 minute longer, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat and strain leaves out. Add the lemon extract and cover & chill 45 minutes.

In a small bowl beat the cream until it is stiff. Gently fold into the cooled mixture and scrape into serving dishes. Chill until firm.

 

Rose Petal Pound Cake

This lovely cake tastes delicious and travels well, so it is perfect as an elegant treat on road trips.

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 ounces finely chopped almonds

1 2/3 cups white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon rosewater (optional)

5 eggs

1 teaspoon almond extract

2 tablespoons chopped non-sprayed pink or red rose petals (remove the white part of petal before chopping)

Preheat oven to 350º F. Grease & flour a bundt or tube pan. Cream butter well. In a separate bowl beat sugar and eggs together until doubled in volume. Add sifted flour and salt gradually. Fold in creamed butter thoroughly. Add the extract, almonds, rosewater and rose petals.  Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 to 60 minutes. Let cake cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack, remove pan and allow cake to cool. Dust with icing sugar and garnish with fresh rose petals before serving.

 

Lemon Rosemary Biscotti

Rosemary adds an amazing tastes to this biscotti. Perfect with morning coffee at the summer cottage.

1/2 cup almonds; whole toasted

1 Tbsp. lemon zest

1/3 cup butter; sweet

2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour

3/4 c sugar; granulated

1 ½ tsp. fresh rosemary; finely

2 Eggs; large

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream butter and sugar together. Add in eggs, vanilla, lemon zest, rosemary, salt, and baking powder. Add in flour one cup at a time. Pat into 2 loaves approximately 1-inch high and 2-inches wide. Bake at 325F for 25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and slide off the baking pan onto a cutting board. Cut loaves into 1/2-inch thick slices and place them back onto the baking pan laying on their side. Return baking pan to the oven and bake another 10 minutes or until crisp.

Variation:  For orange/basil biscotti substitute orange zest and fresh chopped basil

 

 

Lavender Lemonade

This thirst quenching classic takes on a whole new twist with the addition of lavender

5 cups water (20 cups)

1½ cups sugar (4 cups sugar)

12 stems of fresh lavender (50 stems)

2¼ cups lemon juice (9 cups)

Boil 2 ½ cups of water with the sugar. Add the lavender stems and remove from heat.

Place on the lid and let cool. When cool, add 2 ½ cups of water and the lemon juice.

Strain out the lavender. Serve the lavender lemonade with crushed ice and garnish with lavender blossoms. Serves 8.

 

Have a safe, healthy and happy summer everyone. Bon appetit!