Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Rose Desserts

As part of my experiment with edible flowers, I made two desserts out of rose petals this past weekend and to my surprise, both of them produced wonderful results.

Rose Sorbet
I used the delightfully spicy-smelling petals from my favorite vacant lot rose to make a rose sorbet. The recipe I was using called for petals from 16 roses, but I only had four so I cut the recipe by one fourth.

1-1/4 cups castor (superfine) sugar (I used powdered sugar--I think regular sugar would work fine too)
2 cups cold water
4 oz scented unsprayed rose petals (about 16 roses)
6 tbsp rosewater
2 tsp glycerin
juice of 1 lemon [optional]

1) Put the sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan and heat until the sugar dissolves. Put the rose petals in the syrup and allow them to wilt, then add the second cup of cold water and the rosewater. Let cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Then add the glycerin (this preserves the wonderful bright color of the roses; without it the sorbet will be muddy looking and not so appetizing).
2) Let this mixture steep for 5 hours or overnight.
3) Add the lemon juice (I didn't) and push the mixture through a sieve, to get all the juice out of the rose petals. Discard them.
4) Churn using an ice cream machine. I don't have one so I made the sorbet using instructions for making ice cream by hand from David Lebovitz, author of The Perfect Scoop.

Basically, you cool the mixture over an ice bath (I didn't do this since it was already cool since I put it in the refrigerator overnight). Then you put it in a plastic dish in the freezer and set a timer for 45 minutes. At 45 minutes you stir it up with a whisk or a spoon, breaking up all the ice crystals that are forming. You set the timer for 30 minutes and do that again. And then another 30 minutes. And then another. And so forth for about two to three hours or until it seems done.

I have to confess I stopped stirring my sorbet after two hours. It stayed rather icy, more like a granita than a sorbet. That wasn't a problem for me as I enjoyed the texture, the flavor and the color. I had much better success with this method of making ice cream when I made the recipe below.

Rose Ice Cream
I was so happy with the sorbet I wanted to make ice cream but I didn't have any fresh rose petals. So I made this recipe, which requires fresh flowers, with the dried flowers from my pink rosa rugosa. They are much sweeter and pinker than the red rose.

1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups loosely packed, very fragrant rose petals, washed and spun dry

1) Prepare an ice bath by placing ice cubes in a large flat-bottomed container that will hold the bowl where the ice cream will be chilled
2) Combine the rose petals and sugar in a food processor with the metal blade and make into a paste. (Since I used dried flowers, it was more like rose sugar than paste).
3) Combine the cream, milk and sugar paste in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a simmer and then take off the heat.
4) Place the egg yolks in a bowl and whisk until light. Then add the hot liquid slowly, whisking until thoroughly mixed. Return to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it reaches 180 degrees on a candy thermometer or coats the back of the spoon.
5) Strain the mixture into a clean container (I didn't do this since I didn't mind the faint texture of the petals) and place in the ice bath.
Then you would proceed to make ice cream either as above or with your ice cream machine.

This recipe did not call for glycerin, but I think I would add that to the rose and sugar mixture to bring up the color. I added red food color instead and the end result was a muddy pink. It looks a bit like Play Doh and the texture is somewhat chewy as well but the flavor is like nothing I've ever tasted. I dream about it all day long. Luckily I still have some in the freezer.

Let me know if you have any success with these recipes or if you have another recipe you like.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Many Moon Names

I'm a total fan of Havi Brooks of the Fluent Self, so it was totally amazing to be a featured guest at her Kitchen Table, and now she's mentioned my book on her delightful blog and suggested her readers play with one of the exercises, the one where you get to make up your own names for the moons. I'm reveling in all the creative names people posted as comments. Check it out!

I'm illustrating this blog entry with one of Catherine Kerr's magnificent moon photos. She has been taking these every full moon for years. This one, like the one featured on the Celebrations article at my new online magazine, is the August full moon. Cate always provides a long list of traditional names for each full moon as she did in the blog entry that accompanied the photograph.