July 30, 2013

Hogweed seed shortbread biscuits. Foraging day course 21.07.2013

hogweed flowers and seeds (2)

‘Hogweed seed shortbread’…sounds like something from Harry Potter?.

Make some and see. The sweet spicy flavour of Hogweed seeds goes perfectly in shortbread biscuits, think of cardamom and caraway and you’re fairly close to this delicious flavour.

We have been experimenting with Hogweed seeds for a couple of years now and with this recipe we feel we have finally cracked it!

Be sure of your identification. Hogweed is part of the umbelliferae family whose members can be tricky to identify, it does contain poisonous species so be careful. We recommend that you check your identification in a few different plant books or ideally come on a foraging course.

Hogweed  Heraclum sphodylium

hogweed with seedsThis perennial plant flowers from June to August, growing to 2m tall. It has hairy stems and leaves. The stems are hollow and grooved and usually have greyish purple tints. The leaves are very large at the base of the plant becoming smaller up the flowering stem. Each leaf is made up of usually 5 leaflets these have a coarsely toothed wavy edge making the leaflet look irregular. The flower buds appear encased in a papery wrapper and open in to an umbrella of grey white flowers approx 20cm across.hogweed leaf The seeds follow from July onwards first as green discs which dry out to form dry brown seeds as in the photo. Look carefully at the leaf shape to confirm your identification and check that the seed has a cardamom/caraway like scent.

On the 21st July we ran a ‘One Day Foraging Course’ at our wood in North Yorkshire.  We taste tested the biscuits on our guests and they loved them!

Thanks Sophie and Jenny for this lovely testimonial.

“A belated thank you so much for a fantastic day out last Sunday on the Introduction to Foraging course. It was really interesting, fun and the food you made was all so delicious.  Thank you for your dedication to sharing your immense knowledge, it was truly inspiring.  We are going to make a fish smoker this weekend, and I have spent the week scanning lime trees in Ealing in case there are still some flowers left over!”   – New dates for One day foraging courses in 2014 will be released soon.

hogweed shortbread biscuits

Hogweed Shortbread biscuits

  • 150g Plain flour
  • 150g Butter
  • 75g Sugar
  • 2 heaped teaspoons finely ground Hogweed seeds (I used fresh green ones but dried are fine)

Rub all the ingredients together by hand or in a food processor until they are mixed into an even paste. Try not to over work the mixture as it can make the biscuits tough.  Roll your mixture in cling film to form a sausage shape and chill in the fridge until it firms up (about 1 hour).

Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Unroll the sausage of biscuit mixture from the clingfilm and slice into rounds about 4-5mm thick and place on a non stick baking tray  (they will grow a bit so don’t put them too close together).

Bake at 170 degrees for 12 minutes then leave to cool on a cooling rack.

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