I just arrived back home from my three months in Paris. There are things I miss about Paris – the opportunity to speak French, the street markets, the fresh fish markets and some of the quaint ancient streets. I especially remember the relationship with my local Paris fishmonger who advised me to begin filleting my Turbot “with the white side facing up’ so you can more clearly identify where the backbone is.” But it is always good to be back home.
While in Paris, I had been introduced to several recipes using dried Hibiscus flowers and decided to give this a go. “Where in the world am I going to find dried Hibiscus flowers?” I asked myself. I looked out the window to my front yard and there was the answer: I already had a ready and willing Hibiscus plant, ready to give up its pretty red flowers (however you can buy them at your local wholefoods store or on Amazon).
Hibiscus flowers will give a delicious fruity taste to your recipes and are good for lowering your blood pressure and your cholesterol. Give it a try!
When using Hibiscus flowers in a recipe, you first need to remove the stamens and then dry the flowers. I dried mine by first pulling the flowers apart and then placing them in a low oven at 200 F (100 C) for 30 minutes. I then turned off the oven and let the flowers sit for another 30 minutes to completely dry out.
You then re-hydrate the flowers by placing them in boiling water and letting them steep (or infuse) in the water for at least 15 minutes, then straining out the flowers. You can either just drink this Hibiscus ‘tea’ on its own or use it as a base to flavour other dishes, which I have done here for my recipe ‘Vanilla Ice Cream with Hibiscus Rum Sauce & Baby Bananas.’
- Vanilla Ice Cream to serve 4
- 2 cups (5 g) dried Hibiscus flowers
- 1 cup boiled water
- 1 tbsp. grated ginger
- ½ cup orange juice
- 30 ml rum
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¼ cup sugar combined with ¼ cup water
- Grated lime zest
- Raspberries or strawberries
- To dry the Hibiscus flowers, place the petals on a tray and heat in oven at 200 F for 30 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the flowers in the oven for another 30 minutes to dry.
- Place the dried flowers in a cup of boiled water; add the grated ginger and let steep (infuse) for at least 15 minutes. Strain the flowers and ginger from the liquid. Add the orange juice to the Hibiscus liquid; place in a saucepan and over medium heat, reduce to ¾ of the original volume.
- To make the sugar syrup, add ¼ cup sugar and ¼ cup water together in a saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens a little.
- Add the rum and cinnamon stick to the Hibiscus/orange juice mixture and gradually add some sugar syrup until the sauce sweetens to your taste.
- To assemble the dessert, add some of the Hibiscus sauce to the bottom of a serving dish. Slice each baby banana in half and place several slices vertically on the side of each dish. Add the vanilla ice cream in the center of the dish, add some more sauce on top of the ice cream. Add some grated lime zest and top with either a raspberry or strawberry.
- Omit the rum if serving to children.
- The sauce will thicken more when allowed to cool to room temperature. Add more sugar syrup to the Hibiscus sauce if you wish to thicken it further.