dandelion blossoms and greens

Today I learned that dandelion blossoms and greens are edible. Who would have thought that those WEEDS that supposedly ruined your lawn could be put in everything from salad to bread? I plan on making a dandelion dessert tonight.

 

Dandelion Baklava

This recipe involves using fillo leaves, which are extremely thin sheets of pastry dough, usually sold frozen in long thin boxes.  Fillo can be fussy to work with but the results are so worth it!  It’s actually a lot more forgiving than it seems, so don’t be afraid to try it!

1/2 box fillo leaves

1 stick butter

2 cups finely chopped hickory nuts (try walnuts or pecans)

1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup *Dandelion Blossom syrup

1. Combine nuts with sugar and spices

2. Melt butter

3. Layer 8 sheets fillo into a buttered 9×13 pan, brushing every other sheet with butter using a pastry brush.

4. Sprinkle evenly with 1/2 of the nut mixture.

5. Layer 8 more sheets. Sprinkle the rest of the nut mixture.

6. Layer the rest of the fillo sheets, brush the top layer generously with butter.

7.  Cut carefully into 30 squares (6×5) with a sharp knife before baking.

8. Bake at 375 for about one-half hour.  when slightly browned, remove from oven.

9. Pour room temperature Dandelion Blossom syrup over the hot baklava, while it is still piping hot.

Note: Fillo leaves used to come with two packages per box, sized for 9×13 pans.  Lately it’s been all in one package and sized much bigger, so it is necessary to cut the stack of leaves in half before beginning. Half-sheets fit the 9×13 pans nicely.

*Dandelion Blossom Syrup

This is a traditional recipe passed down from the old world Europeans.

1 quart dandelion flowers

1 quart (4 cups) water

4 cups sugar

½ lemon or orange (organic if possible) chopped, peel and all

Note: The citrus is optional, it will give the syrup an orangey or lemony flavor.  If you want the pure dandelion flavor, you can skip the citrus.  I make it both ways each year.

1. Put blossoms and water in a pot.

2. Bring just to a boil, turn off heat, cover, and let sit overnight.

3. The next day, strain and press liquid out of spent flowers.

4. Add sugar and sliced citrus and heat slowly, stirring now and again, for several hours or until reduced to a thick, honey-like syrup.

5. Can in half-pint or 1 pint jars.

This recipe makes a little more than 1 pint.

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