Deana Gunn garnishes
this rose water/saffron ice
cream with pistachios and
Rose water enhances desserts with floral sweetness and fragrance.
By Melanie Wolkoff Wachsman
ATTENTION, shoppers! Rose water
has left the beauty aisle. No stranger to many
ethnic foods, rose water has slowly gained
the approval of American palates. And, diners
can rest assured. Today, it has nothing to do
with fragrance or cosmetics. Instead, rose
water is being carefully crafted into both
classic and modern desserts, adding a subtle,
exotic, floral aroma and flavor.
Chef and cookbook author Priscilla
Martel’s exposure to rose water began
in early childhood when her French
grandmother put rose water in sweets.
However, it wasn’t until Martel, co-author
of On Cooking (Prentice Hall, 5th edition,
2010) and On Baking (Prentice Hall,
2nd edition, 2008), traveled to Morocco
to learn about the dessert traditions
of the Mediterranean that she began
incorporating it into her own preparations.
She describes rose water as an essential
ingredient in North African cookies; it adds
a delicate aroma to the subtle sweetness
of ground blanched almonds or toasted
sesame seeds. Similarly, in Greek pastries,
Martel says, a blend of vanilla, honey and