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Strawberry And Rose Petal Shortcakes

Image of Strawberry And Rose Petal Shortcakes

225 g/8 oz unsalted butter
125 g/4 oz vanilla-flavoured caster sugar
225 g/8 oz plain flour
125 g/4 oz semolina

Rose cream

2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 large red old-fashioned scented roses*
300 ml/10 fl oz double cream
1 tablespoon icing sugar, sifted
teaspoon rosewater

Filling and decoration

450g/1 lb ripe strawberries, sliced
Crystallized rose petals
Sprigs of mint


Serves: 6


Pick the rose petals in the morning on a dry day and examine them carefully for insects before use. Do not use roses that have been sprayed with insecticide.

Cream the butter and vanilla sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Sieve the flour and semolina together, then gradually work into the creamed mixture. Finish the mixing with your hands, then gently knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll out quite thinly and prick with a fork. Using a fluted cutter about 8 cm/3 inches in diameter, cut out two circles for each shortcake and lift on to a lightly floured baking sheet. Chill for about 30 minutes; this helps the shortcakes to retain their shape. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

To make the rose cream, place the lemon juice in a bowl, crush the rose petals in your hand and drop them into the lemon juice. Turn the petals gently in the juice to keep their colour bright. Add the cream, icing sugar and rosewater, stir to blend, then leave in a cool place for 30 minutes for the flavours to infuse the cream.

Bake the shortcakes in the oven for 10-12 minutes, until just tinged golden (they will become crisp only when cold). Using a palette knife, lift on to a wire rack and leave to cool.

Strain the cream through a sieve, discarding the petals. Whisk the cream until firm but not stiff.

To assemble the shortcakes, spread half the circles fairly thickly with rose cream, top with sliced strawberries and then with the second layer of shortbread. Top with some crystallized rose petals and a sprig of mint.

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