|Flowery sugary goodness|
‘How much? I’m not paying that’ thought the Northerner in me as I scoured the Internet for rose cake decorations. ‘I’ll scrump some petals from the neighbourhood gardens and produce my own’ thought the West Country child in me (that I didn't know existed). ‘Can you scrump something that isn’t fruit?’ mused the pedant in me. So I kept my eyes peeled as I ambled home from work, hoping to spy a rose bush in full bloom that I could ‘borrow’ a lone flower from. Yet, in a neighbourhood full of middle class homes, I couldn’t find a single one. ‘Odd’ I thought and explained my dilemma to my friend. “They’re not in season you tit” came her rather frank reply. Thankfully, post-Mother's day the shops were full of wasted flowers and I picked up a bunch of pretty pink roses for a rather bargainacious 99p.
Instructions for crystallising are roughly as follows:
1. Separate an egg and reserve the white (saving the yolk for mayonnaise of course). Briefly beat the egg white with a fork.
2. Select your petals (I suggest trying a few different sizes), take a paintbrush (got mine in the kids section at Tescos) and completely cover each petal with egg white. I held them with my fingers to do this, the instructions I had found suggested tweezers but it got far too fiddly.
3. Sprinkle caster sugar over both sides of the petal. There’s a bit of trial and error involved here to get the amount right – go too lightly on the sugar and the petal wont crisp up, too heavy and you can’t really see the rose. I’d err on the side of caution and go in a bit heavy – you can always brush the excess off afterwards.
4. Leave the petals to dry on parchment paper for a few hours and they are ready to use.
Voila! Some were better than others but out of 30 petals I could be bothered to coat before losing the will to live, at least 20 were usable. You should be able to store them for a few months, inbetween lays of parchment paper in an airtight tin.
I tentatively popped one in my mouth and although they were to an extent still quite plant-like, the sugar added to the enjoyment and the final result was very beautiful. Now I am just left wondering what else I can crystallise?