Scented Geraniums

Scented geraniums were the herb of the year for 2006 as designated by the International Herb Association. In the Triangle area, gardeners usually grow scented geraniums in pots. These tender perennials can also be used in the landscape but will not survive our winters outdoors. Here are some recipes featuring scented geraniums.

Rose Geranium Sugar

Alternate layers of granulated sugar with fresh rose geranium leaves in a glass jar. Cover tightly and leave in a warm place for at least one week. Sift sugar to remove leaves before measuring for recipes. (Use a 1-quart jar with 3 cups of sugar and 10 to 12 rose geranium leaves to make the rose geranium sugar for the angel food cake and lemon curd recipes below.) Rose geranium sugar can also be used to replace the sugar in your favorite cookie and cake recipes.

Rose Geranium Angel Food Cake with Rose Geranium Lemon Curd

For the cake:
1 cup cake flour
1-2/3 cups rose geranium sugar
12 large egg whites
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat the oven to 300?F. Sift the flour 3 times onto a sheet of wax paper. Sift together the sifted flour and 2/3 cup of the sugar onto another sheet of wax paper. In a large bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites until they are frothy, add the salt, cream of tartar, and vanilla and beat the mixture until it barely forms soft peaks. Sift one fourth of the flour mixture over the whites, fold it gently but thoroughly, and sift and fold in the remaining flour mixture in the same manner. Spoon the batter into a very clean, ungreased tube pan, 10 by 8 1/4 by 4 1/4 inches, preferably with a removable bottom, smoothing the top, and rap the pan on a hard surface twice to remove any air bubbles. Bake the cake in the middle of the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until it is springy to the touch and a tester comes out clean. If the pan has feet, invert it over a work surface; otherwise invert it over the neck of a bottle. Let the cake cool for at least 2 hours or overnight. Run a thin knife in a sawing motion around the edge of the pan and the tube to loosen the cake from the pan and invert the cake onto a cake plate.

For the lemon curd:
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup rose geranium sugar
Grated zest of 2 lemons
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

In the top of a double boiler, whisk together the lemon juice and cornstarch. Add the sugar, zest, and egg yolks; whisk to combine. Bring the water in the double boiler to a simmer. Using a whisk, stir the mixture until thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 20 minutes. Whisk in the butter, one or two pieces at a time. When all the butter is combined, transfer the curd to a clean bowl. Cover the surface of the curd with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to cool.

Serve slices of angel food cake topped with a tablespoon of lemon curd and garnished with fresh raspberries and sprigs of mint.

Cherry Compote

1 pound frozen pitted cherries, thawed
1/2 cup rose geranium sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/2 cup water

Whisk together sugar and cornstarch in a 3-quart saucepan, then add water, whisking until smooth. Add cherries and bring to a boil over moderate heat, stirring. Boil, stirring, 2 minutes, then drain in a sieve set over a bowl. Return juices to saucepan and simmer, stirring occasionally, until syrup is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Poured thickened syrup over cherries and cool. Serve as a topping on ice cream or poundcake.

Lemon Scented Geranium Punch

1 cup sugar
2 cups water
2 tea bags
6 lemon scented geranium leaves
4 cups apple juice
2 liters Sprite or 7-Up, chilled

Heat water to a boil. Stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from heat. Steep scented geranium leaves and tea bags in water for 10 minutes. Remove. Mix in apple juice. Chill. Mix Sprite or 7-Up with punch mixture just before serving. Yield: 12 servings.

Pork Roast with Apple Scented Geraniums

3- to 4-pound bone-in pork shoulder roast
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 large garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
6 apple scented geranium leaves
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
2 cups apple cider
2 cups water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon vinegar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Season all sides of the pork with salt and pepper. Heat 2 teaspoons of the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meat and sear until dark golden brown, turning as necessary. Remove the meat from the skillet and set aside. Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons oil in a Dutch oven just large enough to hold the roast. Add the onion and saut? until translucent, then add the garlic and cook until aromatic. Add the geranium leaves, peppercorns, and brown sugar. Put the pork in the Dutch oven and add the wine, water, soy sauce, and vinegar. The liquid should come at least halfway up on the roast. If not, add more apple cider or water. Stir, cover and bring to a simmer. Remove from stove and place in preheated oven. After 90 minutes, turn the roast carefully and return to oven for about 90 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender.

Remove the meat to a platter and keep warm. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce to one-quarter. Strain and discard solids. Skim off fat. Remove the bone from the meat (it should easily release on its own) and cut the meat into serving portions. Return meat to the sauce to rewarm, if needed, then serve, spooning the sauce over the meat.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Revised: May 30, 2017