Perhaps I'm being too much of an Orientalist here, but any dish to do with roses immediately evokes an Arabian Nights-esque vision in my mind...
You know what it looks like: a large marble balcony, lit delicately by the full moon. There's a fountain in the centre, made of the most intricate and beautiful turquoise tiles, and it slowly gushes out water. A large chaise longue rests beside it, amply supplied with plush cushions with glittering gold edging. At each end of the balcony is a large terracotta pot filled with water and topped with rose petals and floating candles. The scent of roses gently wafts up to the balcony from the rose bushes below, and on the chaise longue sits a beautiful princess with the darkest eyes and richest curly hair, savouring each mouthful of a rose custard...made from roses plucked right from the bushes below...
Yes that's what I imagine when I read any recipe to do with roses. That and the colour pink. I think I'm falling in love with it all over again. I had a pink phase when I was five, and then was I was thirteen, and now... I think there's a cyclical pattern in there somewhere.
This rose custard is somewhat like a rose creme brulee and tastes so succulent you'll want to close your eyes and savor it each time you taste it. And the best part is that it is fairly simple. This recipe makes six individual custards. Make sure you ovenproof glass dishes for this.
200ml low fat milk
250ml thickened cream
6 egg yolks
85g granulated sugar
4 tablespoons pink rose syrup
3 tablespoons rosewater
6 rose petals
1 egg white
6 teaspoons caster sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a saucepan, mix together cream and milk until it boils. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for one minute. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, mix together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until pale. Sieve the milk mixture into the bowl. Add the rosewater and rose syrup and beat everything together thoroughly.
Divide equally among six 100ml ovenproof glasses.
Place the glasses in a roasting tin and fill the tin with water up to the 5mm below the rim of the glasses.
Bake for 45 minutes or until the edges have set but the middle is slightly loose.
Remove from oven and remove glasses from tin. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating for at least two hours.
Meanwhile, gently wash and dry the rose petals. With a paintbrush, delicately brush one petal with the egg white, sprinkle one teaspoon of caster sugar on top and slowly shake off the excess. Allow to dry and set. Repeat with other rose petals.