Rose Water and Colouring

I’m in the process of making a couple of kilo’s of Turkish Delight.   The cooking part is over (thank goodness – it’s a hot day and standing over the stove for an hour nearly killed me!) and all that awaits is the cutting and flouring.  Everything went very smoothly and I’ll be posting a recipe and photo’s of the finished product very soon (probably tomorrow).

However, I had a bit of a senior moment right in the middle of cooking up the delight.  Now, anyone who has made either Turkish Delight or any other sort of confectionery will know that you can’t just stop half-way through something and finish it later.  Sugar needs to have the temperature carefully controlled.  Timing is critical and the difference between cooked and burned.

So, I get most of the way through the recipe and go to add in a little red food colouring when I discover that I don’t have any.  A mad dig through the pantry ensues (in between religiously stirring the mix every minute or so) and I come up empty.  I have rose water, but it has no colour at all.

Now, colouring is not a deal-breaker here.  I just happen to like my rose-scented Turkish Delight to be a pale pink.  It’s one of those eye/mouth things – it just seems tastier with a bit of pink colour.  And it occurred to me that ancient Persians, Turks and various other makers of this sweet wouldn’t have been able to nip down the supermarket and get colouring.  They would have used what was available.  And knowing the Persian love of roses, I looked out into my garden and saw that one old bush still had two good blooms on it.

In between stirs, I raced out, clipped the roses, and scooted back inside.  I washed the petals, put them into a bowl with a splash of water and banged the lot into the microwave for 30 seconds.  A bit of pressing with a spoon and a squeeze of lemon-juice (which I hoped would keep the colour from degrading) and I had this….

Improvised rose colouring for Turkish Delight

Improvised rose colouring for Turkish Delight

(Well, not quite – as you might have guessed I’ve tarted it up slightly. Incidentally, that bowl in the background is for sale in my shop…)

A couple of tablespoons later, my mix was a gorgeous pale pink and I was saved!!

I confess,  I’m feeling ever-so-slightly smug.

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11 Responses to Rose Water and Colouring

  1. Wine Blog says:

    Well, that plate is quite colorful indeed. A beautiful picture.

  2. ninazer0 says:

    Thankyou!!! I was too lazy to rig up a proper background for the photo and had it to hand – it’s Turkish so it seemed appropriate.

  3. mrsmasonbrown says:

    I would be smug too if I thought to make home made food coloring. Have you tried to do other colors? I feel a food blog challenge coming on…

    • ninazer0 says:

      *blink* I’ve never thought about other colours. Green would be spinach, I guess. Carrots might make a reasonable yellow/orange, although turmeric and saffron are traditional. The problem would be getting strong colours without strong flavours. I’ve got a couple of PDF’s on dying and medieval cookery – I think some research might be in order! How exciting! And what a brilliant idea!!

  4. How interesting! I was searching for some natural ways of colouring food and I came across this photo of yours on foodgawker! I like this idea a lot! But in my case I’ll have to buy the roses!

  5. CourtJ says:

    Great idea, even more so because I too have a rose bush, so come summer time, I can totally use this trick.

  6. Pingback: Turkish Delight « The New Voodoo Kitchen

  7. trudy says:

    I always wanted to learn how to make Turkish delight. My recipe book does not a clear explanation to make so I am waiting to see your recipe.

  8. sweetrosie says:

    Inspired and beautiful – did your home-made colour add any additional flavour do you think?

    That Turkish Delight will be lovely in your rocky road and nougat – perfect!

  9. ninazer0 says:

    Hey Trudy. The recipe is up now so see how you go.

    Hey Sweetrosie! No – the rose is one of those ones that look gorgeous but have no perfume at all. Still, the colour worked well. However, that batch won’t be going into anything – it all evaporated. I mean, I did about 2 kilos, another kilo of choc-peppermint fudge and a kilo of caramels (my first ever) and it all vanished. I’m reduced to munching on an imperfect batch of chili truffles. Woe is me! 😉

  10. Sheri says:

    I love your color making with the rose petals. I am so tired of the grocery store convincing people they have to buy everything, when many things are so very easy to make.

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