I first fell head over heels with rose water backpacking through Northern Africa. The delicate floral flavoring is used around the globe in many applications from Middle Eastern candies like Turkish delight and baklava to Southeast Asian sweets like bandung and Indian rice puddings. When used sparingly, it adds a subtle aromatic quality unlike any other. And it’s particularly wonderful when added to sweet dishes using winter citrus, like my orange rosewater polenta cake.
So when Curtis Stone rung me up to come cook my favorite citrus dish for the Queen (Latifah, that is!), I happily obliged and went to my exotic cake. I mean, she’s on fire right now with the Grammys and the Super Bowl appearances.
Though I’d love to take credit for being the first to bake using rose water, it’s been utilized in baked goods for quite some time now. In fact, up until the 19th century, bakers across the globe commonly used rosewater before vanilla became popular. It also is a nice accompaniment to citrus, so we decided to riff on an old recipe from Gourmet Magazine to make something truly unique for the Queen and her court.