Sugar High Friday - Flower Power

Or in my case, fruit and flower water power!
Yes, this months Sugar High Friday, hosted by Monisha at Coconut Chutney is themed around Flowers and Flower Waters. Whilst Springtime brings forth a surfeit of daffodils and tulips, we have to wait a few more weeks for the more 'edible' flowers. Primroses are starting to die off, as are violets, so these are no good to use now, especially as we had rain yesterday which resoundingly spoiled any yellow or purple stragglers.
My botany is not good enough to know whether or not bluebells would be OK to use because we have a surplus of them around these here parts.
Not to worry. As a compulsive buyer of unusual spices and flavourings, I have unopened bottles of both Rose and Orange Flower Water both crying out to be used.
As of last night I had no idea what I was going to make. I only knew one thing: I had a deadline I was going to miss if I didn't start thinking pretty hard about those flower waters.
I remembered seeing a beautifully fragile filo construction in Tessa Kiros' Falling Cloudberries. The frail layers of filo were cemented together with an orange scented sabayon and caramelised orange segments. Perfect! I pulled out the recipe and after looking lustfully at the picture for a while, got to work.
Stumbling step No.1. No oranges. OK. So, I'll use lemons instead and make a lemon sabayon. But who wants to eat segments of lemon? Hmm. Too late to run to the supermarket but I always knew that the bag of frozen fruits would come in handy one day.
I picked out the raspberries, black and redcurrants.
Kiros' recipe has four elements to it:
1. The Pastry Layers
2. An Orange Confit
3. An Orange Sabayon
4. An Orange Sauce
I realised that with the scant ingredients I had, the recipe would require some serious reworking. Using the book as a guide only I finally produced a Red Berries, Lemon and Orange Flower Deconstructed Mille Feuilles. Sounds pretty fancy but it was actually really simple. Remember, deconstructed is the key word here. It's the word chefs seem to use when they don't want to spend ages constructing a dish. Someone dropped the roast chicken on the floor and it smashed into 100 pieces? It's a deconstructed roast chicken. It's metro-cuisine you know.
But, back to the pudding in question. This is a dish that can be made in advance and assembled when your guests arrive. The confit is made first of all and then stirred into the Sabayon which is then chilled until you need to use it. The orange sauce can also be made in plenty of time, you can just gently reheat it when the assemblage is due, stirring through the frozen fruits to defrost them but ensuring they don't lose their shape. In an ideal world of course, fresh fruit is preferable. You could also omit the Sabayon element, making sweetened whipped cream instead but it won't have that ethereal, light as gossamer texture.
I have never used Orange Flower Water before and was thrilled to find that far from having that slightly soapy taste that Rosewater can have, it has an almost indefinable delicacy, like the scent of a rare flower dissolving on your tongue. It doesn't taste of oranges, far from it, but it does have a floral-citrus flavour. I will certainly be experimenting with it again.
It looks effective enough to be served at a dinner party but to me the real joy is when you break through the layers of crisp filo and the sabayon oozes dreamily over the spoon. The fruit sauce is a tart foil for the rich cream and the orange flower water permeates the whole dish with its floral delicacy.
If you want to try your hand at this, here's the recipe.
Serves 4
Pastry Layers:
8 Sheets Filo Pastry
50g Melted Butter
30g Caster Sugar
Some Honey
Lemon Confit:
Juice and Zest of 2 Lemons
30g Sugar
Fruit and Orange Water Sauce:
Juice of 2 Lemons
30g Sugar
10g Butter
Tablespoon Orange Flower Water
Tablespoon Limoncello or Brandy
Handful of Mixed Berries to finish
300ml Double Cream
1 Whole Egg and 2 Egg Yolks
50g Caster Sugar
1 Tablespoon Orange Flower Water
To make the confit, heat together the lemon zest, juice and sugar, simmering until it has turned thick and jammy, about 7 minutes. Leave to one side.
To make the fruit sauce, heat together all the ingredients except the fruits, until it has reduced and is thickened, 8-10 minutes. Taste for sugar, extra alcohol, orange flower water etc.
To make the Sabayon, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, until pale and thickened. This will take about 12-15 minutes of constant whisking.
Stir in the Orange Flower Water and 2 teaspoons of the Lemon Confit. If you have left the confit to set aside for a while, it may solidy slightly so you reheat it gently until it liquifies if this is the case.
Whisk the cream until it peaks softly and fold into the orange water/creamy egg mixture. Chill in the fridge, covered, until you are ready to use it.
Preheat the oven to 180c.
To make the filo layers, lay one sheet of filo pastry out on a large work surface (or small in our case), brush generously with butter and sprinkle over some of the sugar. Lay another sheet of the filo and repeat using four sheets. Brush the top sheet with more butter, cut into 5" x 3" rectangles and place on a baking sheet. You should get about 10-12 rectangles per sheet, depending on the size of the filo.
Drizzle over some of the honey and bake the sugared layers until golden and crisp, about 8 minutes.
Repeat with the other four sheets of filo pastry, ensuring to keep them covered under a tea towel until you are ready to use them as they are notoriously fragile.
When they are cooked, swiftly remove the small rectangles from the baking sheet and lay them out on a clean work surface so they don't stick together. Allow to cool. This takes no time at all.
Finally, assemble the pudding. Place a layer of filo pastry on a plate, dollop over some of the creamy sabayon and drizzle over some of the fruit sauce (after stirring through the fruits). Place another rectangle on top and repeat, using 3 or 4 of the filo rectangles, and finishing with the pastry. Dust lightly with icing sugar and if you have anymore sauce left, spoon some around the plate.
Serve and wait for the oohs and ahhs.


Kelly-Jane said...

Wow! Yours looks even better than the one in FC. I like the play on flavours that you arrived at, sounds delicous.


PS Think I've settled on a burger to make!

Gattina said...

I love how you describe the orange blossom water, I'm gonna get a bottle tomorrow!
Lovely dessert!
I can't make good burger (cow hates me...) but I have some guys do the bbq this weekend, let me see if I can come up something with them...

Lis said...

I've always wanted to attempt a dessert like this! I love this!

It's very beautiful and I'm just imagining the crispedy/creaminess of it... *swoon*

Saffron said...

You're killing me! This millefoglie is amazing and I would like to have some! Here it's already summer and this red fruits make me feel better!

Kristen said...

What a creative answer to SHF. That looks gorgeous!

joey said...

That looks lovely! Something to impress the guests but also enjoy on your own -- as it's deconstructed you can whip it up either way right? :)

I love Falling Cloudberries...I get lost in the images she creates...

the pastry princess said...

oh delicious! great contrast in crunch vs creamy...and your flavor combination is so alluring. i'd love to try one now. very impressive!

Susan said...

Crackly and creamy, looks dreamy. I used orange flower water for my SHF post, too. Rose is a bigger player in my kitchen, but orange flower is born on a breeze, excellent for dairy. Dairy, I think, is key to mellow out the potentially soapy taste of any perfumed recipe, that and a light hand.

Cheryl said...

Wow, you really outdid yourself. This is an amazing looking dessert. I can just imagine the crunch of going through the layers and tasting the creamy filling.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

I can see it's "doable" from your recipe what I like about it best is it doesn't look like it's "doable". Does that make sense?
I know I would love the crunch! It is wonderful.
Great pictures!!

tigerfish said...

Other than choc desserts which I like it rich...this is the other kind of dessert I would go for...just something light, sweet and tangy!

Helene said...

I love the color as well as the texture contrast. Beautiful!

vonsachsen said...

I´m drooling! You are so inventive, I would have given up the project after the first obstacle...
Btw, I love flower waters and I always use orange flower water when I make fruit salad on pineapples, a dash of brown sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. Yum!

Patricia Scarpin said...

It's (almost) too beautiful to eat, Freya! Work of art, dear!

I have a bottle of orange blossom water at home and haven't used it yet. What a wonderful inspiration!

Sher said...

I'm having a party soon and I think I just found my dessert. I love it already!

Joyce said...

Wowzers! That's beautiful and your flavor descripton has me salivating. Lovely combo, raspberries and lemon with the sweet sabayon couldn't be a better fit! Glad you didn't have the oranges.

Homesick Texan said...

Ohhhhh, that looks so dreamy and luscious!

pistachio said...

Filo is the next thing I have to find here ... I have sooo many recipes I want to make with it.

Your dessert looks fabulous. I love orange flower water :)

pi xxx

Callipygia said...

I echo the rest, this ensemble is a beautiful composition visually and gastronomically- I love the sound of sabayon, and it actually sounds fairly simple to make. For a gal that doesn't make desserts, you still knock em out!

gilly said...

Wow - what a beautiful dessert! And the combination of layers/ingredients... truly a work of art!

Brilynn said...

Why oh why didn't I look in this book when I was searching for inspiration for this shf???? It's got tons of great recipes like this.

Katie said...

Deconstructed - I like that word.... a lot!
And it definitely has a place in my kitchen!
Your dessert is pretty and sounds delicious... I love berries and lemon!

Monisha said...

Thanks for participating Freya!The Deconstructed Mille Feuilles look absolutely stunning. I love your ingredient substituions - very resourceful! It's perfect for Summer!

Anita said...

That's a delicious looking mille feuille! And I love rose and orange blossom waters too!

Amy said...

The dessert is gorgeous! The pairing of the berries with lemon and orange blossom sounds fantastic. I agree with Patricia that it's (almost) too pretty to eat. :D

Maria said...

Oh boy! I am a sucker for everything you have in this dessert! The berries, the lemons, the orange blossom water! And Mille Feuilles? Who doesn't like Mille Feuilles? I love everything about your dessert and your pictures are just beckoning me to grab a fork!

Schweitz said...

This looks outstanding - and it's always fun to see a name I recognize in a round up. This is getting printed and put in my "have-to-make-when-I-finally-get-organized" binder.

Kiriel du Papillon said...

Congratulations, this looks like a wonderful invention. I do love the challenge of having an idea for a recipe and then discovering that you don't have all the ingredients. The mind just buzzes and out of it all, wonderful things happen!