Turkish Rice Dessert Flavored With Saffron And Rose Water

Thursday April 18, 2013

By Elizabeth Taviloglu, Guide for Turkish Food

"Safranli zerde" (sah-FRAHN'-luh ZEYR-day) is Turkish for simple, pudding-like dessert made with rice, water, pine nuts and currants. Does it sound boring and bland?

Not when you add saffron and rose water to the mix! These two magical ingredients are common in Turkish cuisine. They add delicate flavor, aroma and color to a number of dishes, including this one.

Called "zerde" for short, this clear, yellow, fragrant dessert has it's roots in the regions around Konya, in central Anatolia. It's history goes back hundreds of years.

It's said to have been a favorite of the Ottoman royal family, including the Sultans themselves, who often had it prepared in the palace kitchens.

Today, because of it's traditional roots, this dessert is popular during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and on other religious days. You can also find it in many traditional Turkish restaurants and dessert cafes that specialize in puddings and milk desserts. Of course, it's also a favorite made at home.

Try this tasty and nutritious recipe for Turkish rice dessert flavored with saffron and rose water, especially if you love anything with saffron. If you don't have real saffron, you can substitute up to one teaspoon of tumeric powder. This will also give the dessert a lovely yellow color and aroma. I often add a touch of tumeric anyway, just for colors sake.

How To Make Edible Rose Water

All About Saffron

Turkish Desserts, Sweets And Preserves

Photo © Elizabeth Taviloglu, 2012

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