Edible Rose Bush
Specialty Equipment: fine digital scale
Specialty Ingredients: rose essential oil, gum arabic, spray-dried apple granules, freeze-dried raspberry granules
Dish as in The Fat Duck (can’t find any photos of the dish as served in The Fat Duck):
I’ve read about the use of rose petals, but never used them. It was time for a change. My local flower shop had some (obvious) and an exchange later I took three home. The lighter one on the foreground was an extra from the lovely girl at the shop.
She also gave me a tip on the dissection of roses. You can pull out the green centre, so it falls apart, instead of picking each leaf individually. Works a treat.
When I started with the recipe I thought maltodextrin would be used to crystallize the petals, the same as the seaweed from the Crab Biscuit recipe. Turns out gum arabic is used as crystallizing agent. Luckily I had procured some before starting the first recipe for this book, so no ‘in search of’ this time.
You have to combine the gum arabic with egg white and rose essential oil until it turns into a paste, so you can cover the petals with the mixture. The funny thing is that rose essential oil doesn’t feel out of place when chewing on rose petals (described in the intro). It doesn’t feel artificial as rose flavoring often does. Multisensory eating at work.
By the way, I used a 5% rose essential oil. It was strong enough to flavor all the petals, so I can’t vouch for the use of pure rose essential oil, although rose is almost always is mixed with a carrier oil.
The three toppings for the petals are spray-dried apple granules, toasted coriander seeds (1 seed per petal is more than enough) and freeze-dried raspberry granules (skipped the last one). The gum arabic makes them stick to the petals, but you have to move quickly. I was relaxedly going through the roses with my brother, and after some time the paste started to dry out. As a consequence it was a *@#!^ to attach the toppings to the petals. So if you’re making a bunch, move your ass!
I almost dived face down on the kitchen counter, with the petals looking like delicious Coppa di Parma.
The roses have to dry in a warm room, so no oven or dehydrator. It is really important to dry them until they are crisp. There is a world of difference between dried stuff that is completely crisp or still a tiny bit pliable (learned from my first dehydrator experience).
Crystallized roses look sexy as hell. On their own they are tasty, but their appearance is definitely key. Make it for your (future) special friend and their knees will start to buckle. I promise.