Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Fine Cream Flavored with Orange Flower Water and Rosewater

A Fine Cream

About Orange Flower Water
Orange Blossom Water was a very popular flavoring in the 18th and 19th centuries in American and English cookery. It is derived from the distillation of orange flowers from the Seville Orange tree or other varieties of orange trees. The use of orange blossom water in cookery comes to the west from North Africa, The Middle East, and the Mediterranean. The flavor of this distilled water is flowery but not too overpowering. Rose Flower Water was also very popular in American and European cookery, and also of Middle Eastern origins.

About Rose Water
Rosewater has been made by steeping the petals in water, oil or alcohol since the days of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. The process of distilling rosewater evolved in the 3rd-4th centuries AD in Mesopatamia. Persia became a rosewater distillation center by the 9th century, and the fragrant essence made its way to Europe in the 11th century with the crusaders and subsequently became very popular in Medieval English cookery.

The Recipe: To Make a Fine Cream
Source: Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1798 edition.

Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, 1798 edition

Modern Recipe Adaptation
Yield: 5 Four-Ounce Servings


  • 1  Pint Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg 
  • 1 Teaspoon Orange Flower Water
  • 1 Teaspoon Rose Water
  • 2 Teaspoons White Wine
  • 4 Whole Eggs, Large
  • 2 Egg Whites, Large

  1. In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or stockpot, combine all ingredients except for the eggs. Whisk all these ingredients together.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and egg whites.
  3. Add the whisked eggs to the cream mixture.
  4. Set the saucepan on the stovetop and heat on medium-low until the cream mixture starts to boil. Do this slowly and stir frequently. It should take at least ten minutes to get to this point. Let boil for just a minute and then remove from the heat.
  5. Strain the cream mixture through a medium mesh sieve to remove any cooked egg bits.  You can spoon the cream into individual serving dishes/glasses or into one large bowl.
  6. Refrigerate until completely cold and set, at least one hour.
  7. Serve cold.

Alan Davidson, The Penguin Companion to Food, 2002

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