- I’m subscribed to a German magazin called Garden Dream (or Dream Garden) and in the latest issue an interesting recipe drew my attention: a cheese cake made with dandelion syrup.
- With dandelion syrup! Oh my God! Syrup from the dandelion? Is it possible? Can it be eaten? I have known the flower since my childhood but I didn’t know that it has been gathered for food since prehistory and the varieties have been cultivated for consumption.
- And I also didn’t know that that dandelion leaves and buds have always been a part of traditional Sephardic, Chinese, and Korean cuisine. In Crete, and in Greece, the leaves of a variety called Mariaki or Koproradiko and are eaten by locals, either raw or boiled, in salads. For kitchen use to make leaves more palatable they are often blanched to remove bitterness.
- However the flower petals, along with other ingredients, are used to make dandelion wine as well. In Great Britain dandelion is traditionally used to make the popular British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and it is one of the ingredients of root beer.
- Moreover dandelions were once delicacies eaten by the Victorian gentries mostly in salads and sandwiches. For instance by Jane Austen’s time, when tea was such an important part of life that people had made teas from many plants that sound more medicinal and less pleasant today such as colt’s foot, St John wort, and …yes dandelion. According to Jane, her mother was totally addicted to the dandelion, certainly prescribed for her bilious complaints, that is, for her liver and digestive difficulties, which seems to have suffered from often. Jane was sceptical about the plant but her mother just kept drinking and might be thanks to the taraxacum but she outlived her daughter by ten years…
- In China dandelion has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems and was also regarded as a diuretic because dandelion does contain a wide number of pharmacologically active compounds (vitamins, minerals).
- And one more last thing about the dandelion, the ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee as well.
Reading all those facts about this miracolous plant I got so excited and I wanted to have it immediately in order to make the dandelion cake. But to find dandelion syrup, liqueur or drink in Germany it seemed a “mission impossible”! It took me two weeks when finally I’d learned from my neighbour that it’s available in the Munich market place at Viktualian square. I hit the city immediately and she was right because I could find the liqueur for 9.59 euros. Coming home I ran into my kitchen and started to prepare the cake! The result was amazing! The cream tasted as if I put some pineapple in it. It was simply devine!
- for the cake: 5 eggs, 150 gr sugar, pinch of salt, 120 gr flour, 1 tbs of baking powderFor the cream: 1 pack of gelatin powder, 800 gr Philadelphia or other cream cheese (non salted), juice of two lemons, 180 gr sugar, 400 ml cream, 3 cl dandelion liqueur or limoncelloDirections:Preheat the oven for 180-200 grades.
Split the eggs, add half of the sugar to the egg yolks. Whip the egg whites with the pinch of salt until stiff. Add the remained sugar. Sift the flour, sugar and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl. Mix every ingredients together. Grease and line a 30cm/12in baking tin. Lay the cake base on the baking tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.
Prepare gelatin, soak in 50 ml water, and let it solve for 5 minutes. Then squeeze the lemon juice and add to cream cheese. Whip the cream until stiff. Heat the water with the gelatin wait until it is melted. Remove gelatin from the heat and pour over dandelion liqueur, plus 2 tablespoons of cream cheese. Mix everything together.
Remove the cake from the oven and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
Cut the cake into two layers spread the cream over and set aside to cool completely at least for 3 hours.
Finishing touch: Sift in the icing sugar on top and decorate the cake with dandelion buds and flowers or lemon rinds..
The Latin name Taraxacum originates in medieval Persian writings on pharmacy. The Persian scientist Al-Razi around 900 (A.D.) wrote “the tarashaquq is like chicory”. The Persian scientist and philosopher Ibn Sīnā around 1000 (A.D.) wrote a book chapter on Taraxacum. Gerard of Cremona, in translating Arabic to Latin around 1170, spelled it tarasacon.The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion, meaning “lion’s tooth”, referring to the coarsely toothed leaves. The plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch’s gowan, milk witch, lion’s-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown and puff-ball, other common names include faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed swine’s snout, white endive, and wild endive.