Greek Rose Ice Cream

Greek rose ice cream

I love the taste of flowers. Sometimes people balk at the idea of a spicy nasturtium salad, or a violet crème brulée, but the way I see it, flowers are just another part of a plant. There’s nothing inherently scary about an apple (once a blossom) or broccoli (a cluster of unopened buds), and we often find floral notes in an almond or a glass of chardonnay. Vanilla, the world’s most popular flavor, is the pod of an orchid. And let’s not forget honey. One pound is bee-brewed from 2.6 million flowers’ nectar.

This rose ice cream is a variation on one of my favorites, rose-hibiscus ice cream. I didn’t have any hibiscus on hand, but I did have a lovely jar of Greek rose petal jam. Last summer I bought it on a trip to Brighton Beach and it’s been holding court in my Astoria kitchen ever since. (The irony of buying a Greek treat in a Russian neighborhood and bringing it back to the capital of Greek-America is not lost.)

spoon test

The jam itself is very mild, with little preserved petals suspended throughout. The flavor and texture are very much like honey, which I suppose comes from cooking the roses. The petals have been cooked to transparency, and rather than being mushy as I expected, have a pleasant bite like the bits of peel in marmalade.

Keeping the sweetness of the jam in mind, I made my ice cream a little lighter than usual, and sweetened it with vanilla sugar and rose water. I used non-homogenized organic milk, which has a full grassy taste that couples well with rose. The rose petal jam brings a surprising depth to the dish, picking up the blossom scent and ending with rich honey. Rosy as this dessert is, no flower-fearing palate can fault it. The rose water ice cream is very subtle, and the petals in the jam cling to each spoonful. Lovely.

Thanks to Kalyn for starting Weekend Herb Blogging, and Margot of Coffee and Vanilla for hosting it this week. Ladies, I’m sending you some roses.

jam drops

Greek Rose Ice Cream

makes 1 quart

  • 1/2 c vanilla sugar (Plain sugar would be fine, too.)
  • 3 c organic whole milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp rose water (The flavor and strength varies by brand, so try a few to find your favorite. I used Chtoura Garden, a Lebanese brand, and found it has a more perfume-y taste than others I’ve picked up in little Middle Eastern and Greek shops in Astoria. It’s not my favorite, but it’s fine.)

Whisk the sugar into the milk until dissolved, then whisk in rose water. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions (I have always wanted to type those words).

Store the completed soft ice cream in a plastic container in the freezer at least an hour before scooping. If it’s too hard when you try to scoop it, let it sit on the counter for five or so minutes. Serve in your prettiest cup with a swirl of rose petal jam.



Filed under Recipe, Sweets

9 responses to “Greek Rose Ice Cream

  1. Very interesting entry, especially that the weather is getting hotter 🙂

  2. Very interesting entry especially that the weather is getting hotter 🙂
    Thank you!

  3. Your blog is wonderful – I like everything about it, and I’m looking forward to reading it regularly. Your rose ice cream looks wonderful, and I’ve been counting the days until the wild roses bloom, so I can replenish my stock. The best cooks can turn even the most prosiac foods into a taste treat, as you’ve done with your perfectly grits and perfectly cooked eggs (you can tell they’re perfect from the terrific photographs). I can’t wait to see what you make next.

  4. whereimcookingfrom

    Margot – Thanks for hosting WHB. It’s an honor to have a little thumbnail on your site.

    Laurie – How sweet of you to say that! Can I also say that I think your blog is wonderful? I love Greek food and can’t wait to see your recipe for those fabulous wild roses.

  5. This sounds quite intriguing. The rose petal jam is very interesting too.

  6. whereimcookingfrom

    Kalyn – thanks for stopping by! I’ve always admired your healthy recipes.

  7. Wonderful blog. I too love cooking with flowers.
    I’m wild about rose petal preserves. The best I ever had were from Balducci’s. They were French. Looking forward to more of your posts. I live near NYC so its fun reading about what’s going on in the area.

  8. whereimcookingfrom

    Sara – thanks for the tip about the French rose petal preserves. I might have to try those, too.
    I’m heading over to your blog to read about your heavenly nj right now!

  9. Pingback: WHB # 130 - The Round-up » Coffee & Vanilla

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