Here’s the most classic way I’ve seen angelica used. Candying the stem in syrup concentrates the flavor as well as preserving it.
Just one decent sized plant will give you enough stem to eat up a couple hours of your time preparing this, but after a single taste of the finished product, you’ll never think twice about dedicating some time to it.
At the Salt Cellar, I serve this by itself after a meal occasionally as it’s a great conversation piece to speak with diners about, but the crystalline shards of stem make a beautiful garnish too. My favorite is when I have a dessert that’s fruit based and contains some soft component, like a mousse or buttercream for the shards and leaves to be stuck in so they stand on their own.
If the stem wasn’t cool enough, the leaves can also be candied, and preserved for use throughout the season. The flavor of the leaves is nothing as strong as the stem, but the signature flavor of angelica is still there.
The leaves make a nice garnish stuck in a sponge cake, or eaten plain by themselves. Sometimes my pastry chef likes to use them on our petit fours plate diners receive after dinner.
Candied Angelica Stem
The easiest recipe ever. After you cook the stem pieces in sugar syrup, you have two choices: leave them as is in the syrup, or roll them in sugar. If want to decorate something with it, or serve it on a plate of after dinner snacks, I would roll them in sugar. Making cookies or baking with should be done with stems only cooked in syrup.
- Angelica Stem, as needed, cut into roughly 2 inch pieces
- Equal parts sugar and water
- Extra granulated white sugar, as needed for coating the cooked, peeled stems
Cover the angelica stem with water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes or until just tender. Remove the stems and peel off the thin membrane from both sides, then place the peeled stems back in the water the angelica was cooking in. Add the sugar and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Cook until the angelica is completely translucent and candied, then allow the stems to sit in the syrup overnight to infuse in their liquid.
From here, the stems could be frozen in their liquid to preserve them, or processed in a water bath canner in sterilized jars. Otherwise, remove them from the liquid, drain well and roll in sugar, then allow to dry in a dehydrator without heat for a few hours, or air dry on cooling racks or parchment lined trays in the open, until stiff, about a day or two.
Candied Angelica Leaves
Older angelica leaves needs to be blanched to tame some of their flavor and tenderize them. If your leaves are young and soft you can skip the blanching and just dip them in the meringue slurry I describe below.
- 2 egg whites
- 1 tablespoons cool water
- Roughly 1 ounce attractive leaves of angelica, the younger the better, washed and dried
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
Bring some water to a boil, then blanch the angelica leaves just until wilted, about 10 seconds, then remove the leaves to an ice bath. Remove the leaves and dry. Whisk the egg white with the sugar until fluffy and doubled in volume. Using a pastry brush, coat the leaves with the mixture and lay them out on a nonstick silpat and dry with a fan blowing on them or put them in a dehydrator. If you’re using a dehydrator, make sure to spray the trays with nonstick pan spray or something similar since the leaves get brittle as they dry.