As usual, there were some bizarre ingredients hiding in the mystery ingredient baskets in episode seven of Chopped Canada. I wasn’t in the mood to expose my nostrils to the off-putting smell of durian, so I opted for another one of the more odd ingredients: rose water. It’s popular in Iranian and Indian cuisine but it’s definitely not something you’ll find in a friend’s pantry. That being said, it is readily available in most quality grocery stores so finding a bottle shouldn't be a problem.
What to do with rose water? To be honest, I had never even tasted the stuff before. After picking some up, I decided to man up and just take a big gulp of it. I was expecting the flavour experience of a bouquet of roses to slap me in the face but it was fairly subtle, somewhat perfume-y, but not in an overbearing way at all.
The problem now was trying to figure out exactly what to do with it. When I was watching episode two, I was thinking how tough it would be to cook with gin, a mystery ingredient in the dessert round. But then it hit me - I’ll take these two mystery ingredients and make a granita! It’s not exactly the most appropriate dish for the season, but here in Calgary we are blessed with some lovely, warm chinooks, so when the weather peaks, a boozy, slushy dessert isn't uncalled for.
Gin combines with floral flavours well; you’ll even find botanicals like lemongrass and lavender in more boutique gins. Making a granita is foolproof; anyone can pull it off and this combination allows the rose water to shine without making you feel like you’re spooning into some sort of bizarre rose petal snow cone.
Gin, Apple and Rose Water Granita
Total preparation time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
1 1/2 cups club soda
¾ cup cane sugar
½ cup rose water
4 ounces good quality gin
1 ambrosia apple (cored and finely grated)
1 lemon (zested and juiced)
1. Place all ingredients in a medium pot and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat.
2. Transfer to shallow baking dish and place in the freezer until frozen, approximately 2 hours.
3. Remove from freezer and scrape with a fork until the granita has a slushy snow consistency.
4. Keep frozen until ready to serve.
Watch Chopped Canada Episode 7: Clams, Lamb, Thank You Ma’am
Rhubarb and Rosewater Eton Mess Recipe
by Dan Clapson