Rose Petal Tart

You may feel this sounds too romantic to taste really good If you have not yet discovered the subtle flavour of rose petals you have a treat in store. They have a definite flavour which is not too scented (some scented flavours can taste too much like cosmetics). I first tried delicious, delicate rose petal jam in Istanbul and my luggage on the return flight was overweight because I could not resist cramming in amongst my holiday clothes several pretty pots of jam with an old-fashioned picture of a crimson rose on the label. Since then I have realised it is easy to make ones own jam out of all those overblown roses which need snipping off throughout the summer. Then there are crystallised rose petals; pretty, unusual and subtly flavoured for decoration of cakes and puddings. The rose water you need for this tart can be bought at Greek, Cypriot and Turkish shops and also at chemists, and is a nice addition to fruit salads. You can make the crystallised petals in advance and keep them in an airtight container until you need them. I think they are a delicious topping for this tart and everyone is always amazed by them. The filling is rather like a very light, rose flavoured cheese cake.

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Ingredients

    For the Crystallised Rose Petals

  • petals of 1–2 red roses
  • 1 large egg white – reserve the yolk for the tart filling
  • caster sugar

For the Pastry Case

  • 8 oz packet puff pastry (225 g)

For the Filling

  • ½ pint (double) cream (275 ml)
  • ¼ pint plain yoghurt (150 ml)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 teaspoons caster sugar
  • 2–3 tablespoons rose water or a few drops of rose essence – to taste

Method

Beat the egg white until stiff. Put some caster sugar in a bowl. Dip each petal in the egg white and then into the caster sugar, and lay on a non-greased baking sheet, or ideally on a piece of non-stick baking paper. Put in the lowest possible oven for about 1–1½ hours until quite dry and crisp. Ease each petal off very carefully with a very thin knife, like a palette knife – some petals always crumble as they are so thin and brittle. Keep in an airtight tin ready to use.

Roll out the pastry to about ⅛ in (3 mm) thick in a roughly circular shape. Grease a shallow 8–9 in (20–23 cm) flan dish. Line the flan dish with the pastry and neaten the edges by folding them over double. Cover the pastry with greaseproof paper or foil weighted down by dried beans or rice and bake blind in a pre-heated oven Gas 6 (400°F/200°C) for 15 minutes. Take the foil and dried beans off and let cool.

In a mixing bowl whisk up double cream until it is thick. Add egg yolk, caster sugar, and the yoghurt and whisk thoroughly together. Gradually add the rose water or rose essence, and whisk in. Pour the mixture into the pastry case and bake in the centre of a pre-heated oven Gas 3 (325°F/160°) for 20 minutes. Cool in the fridge. Take out of the fridge an hour or so before you eat it. Sprinkle the crystallised rose petals all over the top at the last moment.

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