As I was browsing amazon.com for another book to read, the cover of A Sprig of Blossomed Thorn by Patrice Greenwood jumped out at me. I was immediately transported to hiking around England with my husband numerous years ago, in the Lakes District, home to Beatrix Potter. We would spend most mornings and afternoons exploring the vast national park and then arrive back at our hotel just in time to dry out in front of the fireplace and enjoy afternoon tea. Lovely china teapots with delicate cups were filled with fragrant, rich tea. Scones that melted in your mouth were served with Devonshire cream and homemade preserves, all the while enjoying the warmth of the fireplace and the views of the lake. I think afternoon tea with scones and jam were my favorite food of the trip!
A Sprig of Blossomed Thorn takes place in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I know…a far cry from England’s countryside, however, Patrice Greenwood evokes the peaceful feeling of enjoying afternoon tea. She also makes you appreciate the beauty and history of the location without detracting from the story. Ellen Rosings owns and runs the Wisteria Tearoom. Maria Garcia, wealthy grandmother to two of Ellen’s employees and esteemed Rose Guild member, drops dead while partaking of Ellen’s tea and mouthwatering food. Most people assume it was old age and bad fortune that she died at the Wisteria Tearoom until Detective Tony Aragon, Ellen’s hopeful love interest, finds that it wasn’t old age. Ellen goes from consoling her employees to tracking down the murderer, trying to prove that it wasn’t her food that killed Maria Garcia. Despite this book being a cozy mystery, Patrice tackles some large issues such as racial discrimination and cultural differences, but she effortlessly weaves them into the story. I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to reading more of this series!
Patrice Greenwood was kind enough to allow me to share Ellen’s Rose Petal Jam recipe with you. It sounded unique but I wasn’t sure how great it would be…and then I made it…and then I tried it….and then I couldn’t stop eating it! Absolutely delicious! The lemons keep the jam from being overly sweet and the rose petals melt into the jam bringing a subtle texture and perfume. I want to say a very special thank you to one of my best friends, Janet, for providing such beautiful roses for me to use and being willing to taste whatever comes out of my kitchen!
Rose Petal Jam and my Raspberry Scones will be the perfect addition to your Mother’s Day brunch…just don’t forget to bring mom a fresh bouquet of roses to go with it!
Ellen’s Rose Petal Jam
Copyright © 2013 by Patrice Greenwood. Used by permission.
Makes 2 – 8 ounce jars
Note: Harvest roses from bushes that have not been sprayed or treated with systemic insecticide or use edible rose petals from a commercial source. If you harvest your own roses, cut them in the late morning. Wash them on the stem, being careful of any thorns. Gather the petals into a bud with your fingertips and pull from the stem, then use scissors to clip off the white bases, which are bitter. Wash the petals again, thoroughly.
1 cup fresh edible rose petals
2 cups sugar
4 cups water
fruit pectin (optional)
1/2 tablespoon butter
Put rose petals into a bowl and sprinkle with 1 cup sugar. Toss with your fingers, bruising petals to release their fragrance. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Juice the lemons, leaving any seeds in the juice (for pectin).
In medium saucepan, combine lemon juice, seeds, water, and remaining sugar (1 cup). Add a little fruit pectin if desired. (I found I didn’t need it.)
Heat gently, stirring until sugar is dissolved.
Add rose petals and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
My note: At this point, taste to see if more sugar is needed. My lemons were huge and the jam was too tart. Add 1 tablespoon sugar at a time until desired sweetness is reached. I needed an additional 3 tablespoons of sugar.
Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes* until jam thickens (220°F or 105°C), or until a spoonful dropped onto a cold plate shows jam texture.
My note: I had to boil about 10 minutes but it was probably due to the extra lemon juice and sugar I had.
Remove from heat. Stir in butter and use a spoon to remove lemon seeds.
Pour jam into clean jars, close lids tightly.
Use a hot water bath if you like, or just store in refrigerator after cooling.
*At elevations over a mile above sea level this may take much longer, up to half an hour. This has an added benefit: you may end up cleaning your kitchen while you wait for the jam to thicken.
- Place a ceramic plate in the freezer and use to check jam’s consistency. The frozen plate will cool the jam down quickly to give you a good indication if it’s thick enough.
- If you are new to canning check out this tutorial for further information.
- The next time I make this I will use 4 – 4 ounce jars to give away as gifts. I think this beautifully perfumed jam is perfect for a hostess gift given with a bouquet of roses.
Click on the link to download this label: Rose Petal Jam labels
2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour, scoop & level method
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces) cold, unsalted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk (or 2% milk mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 ounces fresh raspberries, washed and gently patted dry
1 tablespoon coarse sparkling sugar
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Measure out buttermilk or whisk vinegar into 2% milk, add vanilla and set aside.
Cut the butter into small pieces and place in the refrigerator until needed.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt 10 times.
Add the cold butter and pulse about 15 times until mixture resembles coarse meal with a few larger butter lumps.
Place flour mixture into a medium sized mixing bowl.
Pour milk mixture over flour and butter mixture and gently stir until dough begins to form.
Gently mix in raspberries, then move mixture to the parchment lined baking sheet.
Mixture will still be on the crumbly side, but carefully knead to moisten the entire dough and bring it together to form a round, 1/2″ to 3/4″ thick.
The dough will look like a hot mess with the crushed raspberries and will be slightly gooey, but don’t worry, it will bake up just fine.
Cut the round into even triangles, but leave the round whole. I cut it into 8 pieces, but you could go 10 pieces if you wish.
Sprinkle the top of the round with 1 tablespoon coarse sparkling sugar.
Bake scones for 20 – 22 minutes. Internal temperature should reach 195 – 200 degrees and the edges should be golden brown.
Cool scones on the baking sheet for 5 minutes then move to a wire cooling rack.
Serve with Rose Petal Jam or your favorite preserves.