I was first besotted by Violet back at the second bloggers banquet. I had never heard of Violet before. But now I shall never forget Violet. Duncan first introduced me to Violet. Violet was definitely a stunner, with a refined beauty and so much inner charm. I was taken aback, how come I'd never heard of violet before.
Well, the "Violet" I speak of is none other than the essence and flavouring of violet flowers. The violet macarons that Duncan made were so addictive. I'm sure I ate the most out of anyone, ok maybe Vida might have eaten just as many. The violet flavour is a really strange fragrant flavour that is rather hard to describe. It's like a strange light mix of those pink musk sticks that we used to all eat as a child and a light floral note to it.
So my search was on, I had to find violet essence. Duncan got his bottle on his trip to France. I won't be going to France anytime soon, so I needed to find it here in Melbourne. He suggested I go to The Essential Ingredient, since they're not called the essential ingredient for no reason. I might be able to find a violet syrup there.
So off to The Essential Ingredient I went. I searched high and low (I'm not very good at finding things) but could not find it. I asked a shop assistant as I knew the syrup version was called Monin as Duncan showed me the bottle. However, she said they didn't have it. I was dejected and looked around a bit more. As I was about to leave and browsing the silicone madeleine trays, a shop assistant came up to me and asked if I needed any help. I thought I would give it one last go and asked her if they had violet syrup. She said she wasn't sure but took me over to the syrup section. And low and behold, there was a bottle of violet syrup.
I bought the bottle and was already thinking of a million things to make. I was going to make violet cupcakes, violet macarons, violet profiteroles, violet cakes, violet mousse and anything else I could possibly put it into. I thought I would play it safe and try a violet frosting before doing a macaron. So I decided to try a plain vanilla cupcake recipe that I saw by Ellie at Kitchen Wench and do a violet buttercream.
The cupcake part was really easy to make and tasted very good, awaiting some more flavour via a frosting. I did a butter cream and then added my violet syrup. I put in 10ml as the recipe instructed. Hmmmmm, no violet flavour. I put in another 10ml, no flavour. I kept going, and about 70ml later, the buttercream had split and still hardly a violet flavour. I gave up and left it as is.
This violet syrup is nowhere near as strong in flavour as the violet essence that Duncan brought back from Paris. I need to get my hands on that. So unless I rob Duncan in the middle of the night of his violet essence, or I go to France one day soon, I need another option. Does anyone know any food importers who may be able to get their hands on some (for a resonable price, I don't want to pay a few hundred dollars for a bottle) or know of any other places that may sell violet essence?
Anyway, the cupcakes tasted quite nice still, with a tiny hint of violet flavouring. I think I will use the rest of the violet essence to make cocktails as the back of the bottle suggests.
(makes approximately 24 cupcakes)
225g cups self-rising flour
190g cups all-purpose flour
225g unsalted butter, softened
360g caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and line two 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake papers.
2. Sift the flours together in a small bowl and set aside. Measure out the milk into a cup and stir in the vanilla and also set aside for now.
3. In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, approximately 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
4. Add the flour in three parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not overbeat (this will make them very tough). Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.
5. Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
6. Cool the cupcakes in the tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing with buttercream frosting.
1 egg white
230g unsalted butter, softly whipped
10ml water flavouring (choose whatever flavours you want)
1. Over a double boiler, beat the eggs, white and sugar until it is thick and frothy.
2. Take egg and sugar mixture off heat. Let it cool until it's warm to touch. Then beat in the butter.
3. If the mixture is still a bit rough, put back over hot water and continue beating until it is smooth.
4. Add flavouring.