Ceri Jones, Food Learning Officer
Eating roses is not the immediate thing that springs to mind when admiring a bouquet or garden of them, but they have for centuries made their way into cuisines all over the world, offering a sweet, floral note. Best not to eat directly from the garden though, unless you’re certain they are pesticide free. Instead opt for roses and associated products such as rose water or dried rose petals prepared specifically for eating.
The reason I’ve been researching roses and food (and the reason for this post) is for food learning activities to complement the Museum’s Wild & Cultivated : Fashioning the Rose exhibition. As well as desserts and spice mixes my research led me to many ideas for making food to look like a rose, which I think, is a fun way to look at the concept. I discovered a recipe for a traditional Russian rose bread and was happily reminded of the Italian rosette bread rolls we used to eat for breakfast on holiday in Italy with my family.
Then, there are these beautiful puff pastry apple roses. The internet is littered with recipes for these, and unfortunately I can’t attribute the original creator. They look rather fancy, I think, but I promise they are fairly straight forward and no, you don’t need to be a trained patisserie chef to take them on.
I had a couple of attempts to get these pastry roses right. I learned that it matters which way you roll the pastry, they’re bland without the extra sugar, anything other than short fingernails will puncture your pastry and it really helps if you know how your oven behaves. Also, my final top tip – if the jam spills over the edges of the pastry onto your worktop when making the roses it will make rolling up your roses tricky as it will act like glue with the flour which will make an incredible mess. Keep a damp cloth close to keep your fingers and the kitchen worktop jam free.
Ingredients, makes 10-12
2 red skinned apples
The juice of half a lemon
1 x 375g ready rolled puff pastry sheet
Plain flour for dusting
2 tbsp apricot jam
1 tsp rose water
Melted butter for greasing the muffin tray
Approximately 2 tbsp caster sugar or cinnamon sugar
Icing sugar, and dried rose petals for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 200°C / 180 °C (Fan).
- Prepare the apples. Leave the skin on, cut into quarters, remove the core and thinly slice. Place the apple slices in a medium sized saucepan, squeeze over the lemon juice and add enough cold water to just cover them. Place the saucepan on the stove and heat, timing for 3-4 minutes from cold, by which point the apples should be soft enough to bend without snapping. Do take time to bend test a few before removing from the heat. Drain via a sieve, and spread the slices out in one layer onto a plate or two to cool.
- Mix 2 tbsp apricot jam with 1 tbsp warm water and add 1 tsp rose water, or more to taste. Be generous, the flavour will diminish once cooked. Set aside.
- Brush a deep 12-hole muffin tray with melted butter and set aside.
- Unroll the puff pastry in landscape orientation, leave on its backing paper. Use a rolling pin to thin and stretch it out away from you ever so slightly. With a knife mark 2.5 cm intervals all along the base of the pastry, then use scissors or a knife to cut 10-12 slices from the widest to the widest edge.
- Lightly flour your worksurface. Take one piece of pastry at time, peel off the backing paper and place down on the flour. Spread the jam mix over one side of the pastry slice, then sprinkle over 1/2 tsp sugar. Place the cooked apple slices along the top half of the pastry, with the red rim poking out of the top half, overlapping at intervals roughly half the length of the one before. Leave a gap at the end of 1 cm or so.
- Fold up the dough to cover the bottom half of the apple slices, then very carefully roll up the pastry to create an apple rose. Push the loose end of the into the pastry into the coiled pastry to stick. Transfer the rose to the butter brushed muffin tray, then repeat the process to make the rest of your roses.
- Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes, until the pastry is cooked through. Half way turn the pastry tray in the oven so the roses cook evenly, and cover with foil to stop the apple slices from burning.
- Remove from the oven and cool the roses for 5-10 minutes in the tray, then gently using a cutlery knife ease the roses out of the tray. If there is apricot jam mix left over glaze the top of the roses, or just sprinkle with icing sugar. Add a few dried rose petals to serve.
If you are interested in exploring further recipes using and inspired by roses, come and join us for one of our in person rose food learning sessions at the Museum. First up we have a daytime cookery series starting on 29th March , each one featuring a rose spice mix and a rose water dessert. Or, come and join Kurdish chef Melek Erdal on Sunday 8th May for a masterclass in making rose flavoured baklava, kataifi pastries and Istanbul rose jam. There will also be some family activities featuring rose-shaped pizza bites, full details to be announced soon.