Makes about 3 cups
Herb syrups are wonderful flavor essences that can be added in place of the liquid in cakes or pie filling, and drizzled on all sorts of baked goods. They are good on fruits and fruit salads, used in beverages, and used to make sorbets. My favorite use for bay syrup is on fresh seasonal fruit—peaches and nectarines are my first choice, although it the syrup also is lovely on apples, pears, oranges and pineapple. It is delightful added to a piña colada or vanilla ice cream.
This syrup is sweet and concentrated; often I make it less so by using 2 parts water to 1 part sugar (I use this less-sweet syrup in my herbal libations and on fresh fruit).
• 1½ cups water
• 1½ cups sugar
• 10 to 12 bay leaves
1. Combine water and sugar in small saucepan. Add herb leaves and bruise gently against the side of the pan with a spoon. Place over moderate heat and bring to a boil.
2. Cover, remove from heat and let stand for at least 30 minutes; it is best if allowed to cool to room temperature.
3. Remove leaves and squeeze into the syrup to extract their flavor. This syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated for about 10 days, or frozen for up to 6 months.