Elderflower Pancakes (vegan)

If Elder (Sambucus nigra) grows in your part of the world you may be seeing the frothy white flowers this week or even enjoying a whiff of the heady fragrance. For us the elderflowers are a little earlier than usual. Time to make cordial, perhaps some sorbet, and definitely pancakes. ‘Hollerkiachl’ as they are called in Bavaria. 😃

We are lucky and have several trees/shrubs directly on our doorstep and in our lane, away from traffic and foraging passers-by!

First I made the pancake batter. Here is my recipe for about 8 small pancakes:

  • 200g (1 3/5 cups) flour
  • Pinch of baking powder
  • 2tsps sugar
  • 425 ml (1 4/5 cups) almond milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 ‘veg eggs’ or 1 large tbsp soya flour mixed with a little water

Whisk all the ingredients together to make a smooth batter. Leave to stand while you cut your elderflowers.

The best time here to cut elderflowers is late morning on a still and sunny day. The aroma seems to be at its peak then. You will need about 8 -10 flowerheads, one for each pancake. (It depends on their size so cut a few extra if you aren‘t sure.) Shake off any flies and beetles. Bring them indoors and shake again over the sink, then place on a yellow surface. This attracts any remaining tiny flies to crawl out.

Heat a little sunflower oil in a pancake pan. Dip an elderflower head in the batter, holding it by the stalk, and drop it in the pan with an extra tablespoon or two of batter.

You can now cut off as much of the stalk as possible so you can turn the pancake once you see little bubbles forming. Fry until golden brown on both sides, and sprinkle with a little sugar. Continue until you have used up all the batter.



33 thoughts on “Elderflower Pancakes (vegan)

  1. These are exactly what i remember my folklore professor making for us for brunch one weekend at college. She served them with i think a gooseberry syrup. Yummy!!

  2. Cathy I have an elderberry in my garden, although he is sick and I don’t know what, but he gives some flowers with a wonderful perfume. The pancake recipe is very easy to make. I have to try it a year when I will be in my country house when the elderberry blooms. Thank you very much for the recipe, it looks very appetizing. Keep you safe. Good weekend. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xx

    • Thanks Susie. These are an old tradition in Germany and Eastern Europe, all with variations of course. Some people use beer in the batter, others add sugar. I make them like my partner‘s Grandmother made them. 😃

        • Well, here in Germany they are! Don‘t know enough about other species. The fragrance is sweet and carries quite a distance on a warm day. It can be almost overpowering if there is a very hot spell and all the flowers open at once. 😃

          • I wanted black elderberries like everyone else is familiar with, but they can not be imported to California. I never asked why because I figure there is a good reason for it. I am more than satisfied with the native blue elderberries.

  3. I must try!!! I was asking my sister if her bushes had flowers yet and we got to talking about elderberries and our childhood memories. As we talked, I started to remember my Mom making these pancakes, which I had totally forgotten about before our conversation. Do you use any syrup on them? I can’t imagine pancakes without syrup.

    • Syrup is unusual here. I sprinkle normal sugar on them. 😃 I wonder if your elderberries are the same sort as ours. Our species is Sambucus nigra and the flowers are intensely fragrant on a warm day. Good to hear the pancake tradition spread to America too! 😃

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