Sambuccus canadensis • Elderberry, Elder, Sureau du Canada • In the Kitchen

Elderberry florets and berries are edible but all the rest is toxic, traditionally used to make wine, jam, jellies, syrups, marinades, preserves, compote and pies. Berries must be cooked and because they do not contain pectin they are often mixed with pectin rich fruits. Pontack sauce is an acid base reduction used to marinate wild game dating to the 17th century from England.

Lemon Chocolate
Cheesecake Bites with
Pontack Coulis
makes 42

Pontack Sauce


  • 500g elderberries
  • 500ml red wine vinegar
  • 250g Egyptian onions, thinly sliced (or strong flavored onion)
  • 6 cloves
  • Nutmeg to taste
  • Mace blade
  • 15ml pink peppercorns
  • 15 g ginger, sliced


  • In a nonreactive oven proof dish mix elderberries and wine vinegar
  • Place in an low heat (130) oven
    for 6 hours
  • Strain
  • Crush berries;
    add onions, spices and ginger
  • Transfer to a pan, boil gently to reduce slightly
  • Simmer for 20-25 minutes
    Strain, reserve 250ml liquid for coulis
  • Preserve in glass jars



  • 250ml sugar
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • 250ml of the cooked berry mixture
  • 250ml reserved strained Pontack sauce


  • Puree all ingredients
  • Refrigerate until needed

Lemon Chocolate Cheesecake Bites

Ingredients • Filling

  • 125 ml softened cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 45 ml sugar
  • 15 ml lemon juice

Ingredients • Cake

  • 225 ml all purpose flour
  • 150 ml sugar
  • 30 ml unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2.5 ml baking powder
  • 2.5 ml baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 ml vodka infused with vanilla
  • 125 ml water
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 30 ml lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites

Ingredients • Icing

  • 100g semisweet chocolate melted


  • Preheat oven at 350F
  • Grease miniature tart pans
  • Cream cheese, egg, sugar, lemon juice until smooth
  • In a separate bowl sift flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • Add vodka, water, vegetable oil, lemon juice and egg yolks
  • Beat mixture until blended
  • In a separate bowl beat egg whites until stiff
  • Fold into the mixture
  • Spoon into tart pan leaving space for cream cheese mixture
  • Add dollop of cream cheese mixture
  • Bake until set, about 14 minutes
  • Cool slightly, unmold carefully with a knife
  • Cool completely
  • Melt chocolate in a double boiler
  • Ice the inverted cakes
  • Plate

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