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I have tried adding essential oils, even flowers (lavender) to my sweet treats, but a Rose Water Pancake Recipe showed me that I haven’t seen (or tried) it all. I was not familiar with using blossom waters in recipes of any kind, but it seemed tempting, so I decided to give it a go. I was right, it is the perfect pancake recipe, they turned out absolutely delicious, with a slightly exotic twist and a note of novelty.
Rose Water Pancakes
Flower water, also known as hydrosol, is obtained by distilling flower petals by steaming them. These floral waters are common in Middle Eastern and Northern African cuisines especially rose water which is the most popular variation. Actually, its culinary use dates far back to the 7th century Iran. It was widely used in Europe as well before vanilla took the scene.
Rose water can be used in savory recipes, but it definitely works best in sweet ones, giving them a "perfumey" note. Reduce the milk amount in your standard pancake recipe by ¼ cup. For instance, if the recipe calls for 1 ¼ cup milk, add 1 cup of milk (even better, buttermilk) and ¼ cup of rosewater. For an additional ‘Persian’ twist to this American classic, add ½ teaspoon of cardamom to the batter and prepare a saffron syrup to pour over the stack. The syrup is prepared with 1/2 cup water, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 tbsp. rosewater, and 2 tbsp. saffron.
Orange Blossom Water
This is another type of floral water that has been used for centuries, but it became popular in Europe and the States after the 18th century. You can add a tablespoon of orange water into the batter, but there is an amazing recipe for a topping with an absolutely seductive name - Orange Blossom Honey.
Combine the zest and juice of two oranges in a pan. Add two tablespoons of honey, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and ¼ teaspoon orange blossom water. Heat until thickened. I have used this topping with various kinds of pancake recipes, but I find it best with almond-based flapjacks (those made with almond flour, almond milk, or just chopped almonds).
Kewra Water Pancakes
Kewra water (also called kewda water) is distilled from the kewra or pandanus flowers and is very common in the Indian cuisine. Its taste is very similar to rose water but a bit fruitier. Here is a recipe for Indian pancakes called Malpua. These flapjacks are full of exotic flavors, including maida flour, semolina, fennel, raisins, almonds, cardamom powder, and dry coconut. The pancakes are deep fried in ghee butter and covered in malpua syrup. the syrup is made with sugar, water, kewra water (only ¼ teaspoon), saffron, and cardamom powder.
One last thing, go easy on the floral waters. As you can see from the recipes, the amounts used range from 1/4 teaspoon to ¼ cup.