When I think of roses I always think of the breathtakingly beautiful garden my grandfather used to tend to in their home in Tamboerskloof. The beds were filled with stunning roses of every name and colour; the gorgeous old-fashioned kind that filled the air with a thick sweet scent and whose buds bloomed into big, full roses with large petals that attracted butterflies and bees. The aroma also brings fond memories of my grandmother who used to wear the perfume of roses on special days and trips to town when the pearls and hair curlers came out too.
Perhaps it is these special memories then that began my love affair with rose water. A twist of the cap and I'm swept right back to that scented garden in the heat of summer, or enveloped in my grandmothers smell just as I used to be when caught in a big warm hug. With Women's Day on the calendar this week, I can't think of a more feminine and graceful ingredient to use for the occasion. And with it being Ramadan, the supermarket shelves are well stocked. So, treat the lady in your life (or even yourself) to a batch of these delicate, dainty and buttery Madeleines which have been perfumed with rose water and hopefully I won't be the only one looking at this ingredient through rose tinted glasses.
¾ cup castor sugar
1 cup cake flour, sifted
1T rose water
1t vanilla extract
icing sugar, to dust
Melt the butter in a small saucepan until it starts to bubble and turn brown. When it smells like roasted nuts, remove from the heat and strain well. Bea the eggs and sugar until very thick and pale. Fold in the sifted flour and butter followed by the rose water and vanilla. Spoon into a greased madeleine tin or greased antique serving spoons. Bake at 200C for 6-8 minutes or until golden. Dust with icing sugar. Serve with pink rose water icing to drizzle or dip.