Oct 29 2010
And, now for the final dish in my Luxurious Iraqi Dinner Party series: velvety smooth, fragrant, and delicious saffron and rose petal labaneh.
This was the crowning moment of my evening. Not only was it stunningly beautiful, it was so delicious! In all my research on how to host a luxurious dinner party, one important piece of advice is that your first dish should be stunning – both in appearance and taste – to really impress your guests. And, while this is true and important, I find it just as necessary to end the meal with an equally stunning dish…you don’t want them to think you ran out of energy at the end!
However uncomplicated it is to make this dish, it does take some planning and time – as well as access to organically grown/pesticide-free fragrant roses. I happen to grow some in my garden. Unfortunately, mine bloom and are most fragrant in early summer. By the time September rolls around, they are on their way out. Luckily, one of my fellow gardeners, and author or Naturlich Fürth, had plenty still left growing on her garden plot that were a million times more fragrant than mine…and she was happy to share!
Now, the part that requires time is “making” the rose honey. The longer it sits, the more fragrant it becomes. I let mine sit for a week before using, but I’m sure it can be used as early as 2 days after making – it will just be less fragrant.
Just remember that when it comes to the fragrant roses for this dish that you pick some with a sweet smell. I have some beautiful, very very fragrant, red roses growing on my garden plot, and they smell like a nice, clean rose soap…not exactly a flavor that I would enjoy in a dish.
The original recipe can be found here. This is originally called a panna cotta, but labaneh is yogurt that has been strained to give it a much thicker consistency which is a major component of this recipe. So, I just renamed it.
Rose Petal Honey
1 Cup mild clear Honey – such as Acacia Honey
1/2 Cup fragrant Rose Petals
Remove about 1/2 a cup of honey from the jar and set aside. Mix in the rose petals and then pour the 1/2 cup of honey back – this is to prevent spillage. Cover with original lid.
Let stand for a couple of weeks.
Saffron and Rose Petal Labaneh
680 grams Yogurt
3 pinches of ground Saffron
3 Tablespoons Water
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored Gelatin granules
18 Tablespoons Milk
6 Tablespoons Rose Petal Honey
3 Tablespoons chopped red/pink Rose Petals
1 Cup Whole Rose Petals
Place the yogurt in a cheese cloth-lined colander and let it drain for 24 hours.
Whisk the yogurt in an electric mixer to cream it. Blend in the saffron and let it stand for 2 hours.
Place the water in a small bowl and sprinkle the gelatin on top. Let it stand for 1 minute. In the mean time heat the milk in your microwave for 40 seconds, and then combine the gelatin water and milk together.
Add the gelatin/milk mixture, honey, and chopped roses to the yogurt and whisk in your electric mixer until fluffy.
In the mean time, lightly oil small jars (something about the size of a cupcake wrapper) and line the jars with some rose petals*.
Fill each jar and cover with a tight fitting lid. Refrigerate until set (at least a few hours).
Tape the labaneh out onto the center of a plate and drizzle with about 1 teaspoon of extra rose petal honey. Garnish with some rose petals, and serve with a nice hot cup or coffee.
Serves 6-8. (depends on jar size used)
*my husband preferred that I skip this step because he didn’t like having larger chunks of rose petals in his food. I have to agree with him on this one, and in the future will just garnish with some rose petals and skip lining with them.