This syrup is a traditional feature of Middle Eastern sweets and pastries. It’s essentially a sugar syrup that is used to bathe, soak or sprinkle on various sweets. It’s scented with orange blossom water, rose water or both. These distilled essences are widely available in the Middle East, and they are increasingly available in the West.
The syrup is very easy to make, and the proportions vary depending on desired thickness. Water and sugar are boiled with a little lemon juice to prevent it from crystallizing. The orange blossom water or rose water is stirred in at the end of cooking. Any sooner can weaken their aroma.
When the syrup is used for making pastries, it must be added when the pastries are already baked, fried or cooked. Cold syrup is added to hot pastries. It’s either poured onto the pastry or the pastry is dipped for a moment, then lifted out.
- 3 cups sugar
- 2½ cups cold water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1½ tablespoons orange blossom water or rose water
- Dissolve sugar in water in heavy pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- Bring to boil, add lemon juice and boil over medium-low heat for 12 minutes. Once syrup has begun to boil, do not stir again, as this makes the syrup cloudy.
- Add orange blossom water (or rose water), boil 30 seconds longer. When cool, the consistency should be similar to thin honey.
- Cool and store in a sealed glass container in the refrigerator for several weeks.