Don’t ask me why but I always thought rosewater was some exotic liquid used in beauty treatments. It doesn’t really sound like something that you would use to make delicious sweet treats. A while ago I decided I would give it a try and made rosewater pound cake. I was a convert. It’s a subtle and light flavour that leaves your mouth feeling like you’ve taken a deep breath in a beautiful field of flowers.
The first time I used it in cooking, I made the cake for Mother’s Day. I hadn’t used it again until recently when I made rosewater Turkish delight for my grandma. Not convinced that it was going to turn out, I was pleasantly surprised when the jelly-like pieces of pink sweets were wonderful. I love the feeling of biting into them and the burst of flavour. It’s actually pretty easy to make and you could vary the flavours to suit your taste. The original recipe included pistachios but I left them out.
Start by combining the sugar, water and lemon juice in a large saucepan. Heat the pan over low heat, stirring, until all the sugar has dissolved then bring the pot to a gentle boil.
Meanwhile combine the gelatine, 75g of the cornflour and 200mL of water and tip it into the saucepan. Stir the pot over medium heat until the gelatine has dissolved and then simmer it for another 20 minutes until the mixture thickens.
There’s a bit of tin preparation involved in making Turkish delight. First, spray the tin with oil. Then line the tin with plastic wrap so it covers all the sides too. Try and make it as flat as possible with no creases. Mix the icing sugar with the rest of the corn flour and coat the bottom and sides of the plastic with it. Tip the excess out and reserve it for dusting later.
Once the mixture has thickened on the stove, pour it into the tin. Then all you need it patience. It needs to sit for at least three hours but if the weather is hot like it was when I made it, it will need at least five hours.
Once it’s nice and solid (I thought it would still be light when it set so sorry for the ugly night-time pics), use the plastic wrap as a lever to lift the whole slab out of the tin. Dust the top of it generously with the icing sugar and corn flour mixture.
Use a sharp knife to cut it up into pieces and roll each square in the powder.
Serve it up straight away or store it in an airtight container for up to a week. Enjoy!
What about you? Have you cooked with rosewater before?
Rosewater Turkish delight recipe from Gifts from the Kitchen
makes 20 pieces
- 375g caster sugar
- juice of one lemon
- 25g gelatine powder
- 100g cornflour
- 25g icing sugar
- 2-3 tsp rosewater
- pink food-colouring paste
- 50g shelled unsalted pistachios, roughly chopped (I left these out)
- sunflour oil (or any oil) for brushing the tin
In a medium sized saucepan, combine the sugar, lemon juice and 300mL of water. Heat the pan over medium heat, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved then bring it to a gently boil.
Combine the gelatine, 75g of the cornflour and 200mL of water and tip it into the saucepan.
Keep stirring until the gelatine has all dissolved and then simmer the mixture for 20 minutes or until it has thickened.
Combine the remaining cornflour and the icing sugar. Spray a 20cm square baking pan with oil and line it with plastic wrap.
Lightly sprinkle the cornflour/icing sugar mixture over the plastic wrap and shake the pan to distribute it up the sides. Shake the pan out to remove any excess powder.
When the saucepan mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and leave it to cool. Then add the rosewater and food colouring and stir them through. Pour it into the lined tin then spread the top of it out so it’s flat.
Leave it to set for at least 4 hours.
Cut it into squares and dust each piece in the remaining icing sugar and cornflour mixture.
It will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.