Everything is blooming in May. Rose water has long been a flavor profile in Persian, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. It’s just water with rose petals soaked in it. Don’t run to the florist now: these are edible roses, as no chemicals such as pesticides have been used on them. If you grow your own and don’t use chemicals in your garden, we’ve included a DIY recipe (and if not, there are a few links to find it online at the end). Join us on a quick culinary tour of this flowery avenue.
Last year saw a popular no-bake dessert phenomenon: the icebox cake. It’s just a stripped-down version of tiramisu, and what better way to welcome spring than this simple yet decadent dessert.
ROSE WATER BERRY ICEBOX CAKE
2 sleeve Maria cookies (sometimes sold in the “international” aisle in a grocer)
For the cream layer:
1 liter heavy whipping cream
1½ cups powdered sugar
½ package of no-cook vanilla pudding mix
1 tablespoon rose water
½ teaspoon vanilla
For the berry layer:
2 cups sliced strawberries, plus more for garnish, if desired
2 cups raspberries, plus more for garnish, if desired
In a large chilled bowl, whip the cream until thick, add sugar and pudding mix and continue beating until semi-solid; the peaks on the whisk should be relatively straight as they are pulled out of the mixture. Add rose water and vanilla.
Place a layer of cookies in a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan, roasting pan or even a 10-inch springform pan, place a layer of cookies, breaking if necessary to fill in gaps. Spoon 1½ cups of the cream mixture and spread it evenly over the cookies. Divide ¼ of the berries over the cream and repeat three more times, finishing with a layer of cream. Decorate the top with additional berries if desired. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 24 hours. Cut and serve.
SIMPLE SYRUP PINK WATER COCKTAIL/MOCKTAIL
Servings: 4 drinks
1 cup rose water simple syrup
3 cups seltzer
4 lime wedges for garnish
4 cucumber slices for garnish
½ cup gin (Hendrick’s cucumber is quite tasty for this recipe), optional
In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar, and 3 tablespoons rose water. Bring to a boil over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool and use for the above recipe.
STEWED SPRING FRUIT COMPOTE
8 cups fresh fruit cut so that most pieces are of uniform size (use a mixture: I like a combination of plums, peaches, strawberries, grapes, etc.)
½ cup sugar
½ cup juice of your choice (apple works great) or water
1 tablespoon rose water
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine fruit mixture in 10-cup baking dish. Bake for 35 minutes, or until the fruit is broken down and bubbly. Let cool and then add vanilla and rose water. Use it as a topping for ice cream, yogurt, as an addition to oatmeal, etc.
DIY ROSE WATER
Servings: 3 cups
3 cups of warm water
1 cup edible rose petals (fresh or dried)
Combine the ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer for 5 minutes. Cool and strain into glass jar and keep refrigerated.
Rose water sources
Sources for Dried Edible Rose Petals