It has been about two years since I was last at Fortnum & Mason, and almost the same amount of time since I first attempted making these biscuits. In a previous post, which can be found here, I shared my version of Fortnum & Mason’s rose biscuits. And over the past couple of years, I have noticed it has consistently been a popular post on the blog - which I love, as I feel it means there are others out there who either like me have an obsession with using rose in baking, or, are just as in love with Fortnum & Mason’s biscuits as I am.
The original recipe for Fortnum & Mason’s rose scented biscuits requires some crystallised (or sugared) rose petals, of which I have never been able to find in Australia. I still dream of the packets of crystallised rose and violet petals I saw in the shop G. Detou in Paris, and still kick myself for not buying them. Since I could never find any crystallised rose petals, and fresh edible rose petals still eluded me then, my version of Fortnum & Mason’s rose scented biscuits omitted the rose petals, but included a rose icing to enhance the flavour. While I have always been happy with my adaptation, I still kept the original recipe in mind, just in case I was ever able to make it properly.
More recently, I posted a recipe for a cake which used edible flowers, including rose petals to decorate the cake. I mentioned in that post how exciting it finally was to find edible flowers, and the recipe in this post is another reason why. I was able to crystallise the rose petals myself, then add them to the biscuit mixture as per the original Fortnum & Mason recipe. I am so very glad I was finally able to make these biscuits. They taste exactly like the ones Fortnum & Mason sell packaged in the pretty pink cylindrical tins.
How to Crystallise Rose Petals
If you wish to make the biscuit recipe below, I would suggest making the crystallised rose petals first, a few hours in advance to give them time to dry out before making the biscuits. I did not find the rose petals, once crystallised, had a very long shelf life, so I would not advise making them days in advance.
Fresh unsprayed rose petals, gently rinsed and dried
1 egg white
50g sugar (approx.)
Prepare two or three large baking trays by lining them with baking paper.
Gently whisk the egg white with a fork until lightly frothy.
Working slowly and doing each rose petal individually, use a small soft bristled (new or kitchen purpose) paint brush, and brush a small amount of the egg white over both sides of the rose petal. Ensure every part of the petal is covered in egg white. It is easiest to hold the rose petal at the narrower end, where it is a little white in colour.
Then, gently toss the petal in some of the sugar, again ensuring the whole petal has been coated in the sugar. Dust of any excess sugar, and place on one of the prepared trays.
Continue doing the same for each rose petal. Leave the sugared rose petals to dry on the prepared trays for at least a couple of hours.
In humid conditions the petals may take longer to crystallise, and they can be dried out in the oven at an extremely low temperature, about 20 degrees Celsius. I tried both methods of drying and found they dried better when left out for a couple of hours or so.
Once the petals have dried they will be crunchy and ready to use in the recipe below or as a garnish for cakes and desserts.
Homemade crystallised rose petals last a maximum of a couple of days after crystallising, when they are left out so they remain dry. I found keeping them in an airtight container wasn’t the best option for storing them.
Fortnum & Mason’s Rose Scented Biscuits
100g unsalted butter, softened
50g golden caster sugar or caster sugar
1 tbsp rosewater
100g plain flour
50g almond meal
15 g/10 medium/large (whole) crystallised rose petals, roughly chopped
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and line a baking tray with baking paper.
In a large bowl, cream butter, sugar and rosewater until all combined. Sift in the flour, add the almond meal and crystallised rose petals and mix until combined.
Using a teaspoon, take spoonfuls of the mixture and roll into balls and place on the baking trays. Flatten the balls a little so they form fat round discs.
Cook for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly golden. If you are unsure if they are cooked, use a palette knife to gently lift a biscuit - if it is evenly golden on the base of the biscuit, it is cooked. Cool biscuits on the trays or on a wire rack.
This recipe only makes about 20 biscuits, but after all the fuss of crystallising your own rose petals, I suggest doubling the quantities and making more! The cooked biscuits last about one week.
Reference: ‘Tea at Fortnum and Mason’ (Ebury Press, 2010), p.61.