This is one of those flights of fancy that is simple and worth it. The rose petals add a delicacy and a sparkle to any dessert dish that will make your guests feel honored and you feel like a 5-star pastry chef. Cooking with flowers has been a bit of an uphill battle in my professional career. In the United States, flowers in food are associated with overpowering perfume and soapy flavors. I beg to differ. When used in a delicate balance, most flowers, especially rose petals, are a divine culinary treat. Roses have a natural aroma and sweetness. This is definitely a seasonal bit of magic. Roses are available during the summer months, and you need to use organic, food-grade flowers. These petals add flair to any dessert encourage your guests to eat them! Use them to garnish petits fours and wedding cakes. When you’re working with the petals, go to a calm, meditative state, because the task takes delicate care and patience.
- Yield: 20 TO 30 PETALS
- 4 4 egg whites (20 g)
- 3 non-treated organic roses; choose your color
- 1½ tsp gelatin powder (5 g)
- 2 cups (400 g) granulated sugar
- Set the egg whites out at least 2 hours before cooking to reach room temperature. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat.
- Preheat the oven to 125°F (52°C). Hold a rose in one hand. With the other hand, grab and twist one rose petal at a time to gently pull off the petals. Repeat with the remaining roses. Fill a bowl with the rose petals and set aside.
- Bring a saucepan of water to a low simmer. Place the egg whites in a medium bowl that can rest on top of the saucepan. Sprinkle with the gelatin powder and allow the gelatin to bloom for 5 minutes. Place the egg white mixture over the saucepan of simmering water to create a bain-marie. Warm the egg whites to 122°F (50°C). Turn up the heat slowly; it is important to keep the egg whites in a liquid state and to avoid cooking them. Remove the egg whites from the heat.
- Use a clean, dry pastry brush to brush both sides of each rose petal with the warmed egg white wash. Pour the sugar into a separate medium bowl. Gently coat the rose petals with sugar, shake off the excess sugar, and lay the petals on the parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Repeat until all the petals are coated.
- Place the rose petals in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the petals are dry. To check for doneness, allow a petal to cool for 3 minutes; it should crack easily between your fingers. Allow to cool for 1 hour on the countertop. Keep the rose petals in an airtight container in a cool, dry spot until ready to use as a garnish.