Orange blossom water

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Orange blossom water is the very special pure flavoring used in Lebanese baking and across the Middle East as a fragrant floral flavoring.

Lebanese orange blossom water on the counter for baking

Like rose water, orange blossom water is a distillation from petals, in this case the petals of orange blossoms. The scent and flavor of orange flower water have powers over the soul that are amazing. This fragrance will grace your kitchen when you use it, and soon you might find yourself forgiving offenses, planning a picnic, or noticing that your face, even at rest, has a bit of a smile on it.

Mazaher (muh-ZUH-her) in Arabic, is the water distillation of the blossoms of the bitter orange tree. This flavoring scents syrups, pastries, confections, ice cream, cakes ( a favorite for wedding cakes) and puddings. This is the essential ingredient that makes Lebanese baklawa the best in its class. The flavor is not citrus flavors or bitter, but rather floral in its flavor profile. Too much mazaher is not as perfumey on the palate as too much rose water is, but it should still be a careful measure. Perhaps we can learn a thing or two from the way we use these floral waters, since it is in their subtlety that they are most alluring.

Pure flower water is available at Middle Eastern and other grocery stores, and you can find pure Lebanese orange blossom water in my shop.

Make the ubiquitous Orange Blossom Syrup that is essential to Lebanese Baklawa. There are so many recipes on this site that include orange blossom water! Enjoy exploring, including Orange Blossom Pecan Pie in which a teaspoon of orange blossom water brings up the flavor beautifully, an Orange Blossom Gin Fizz, Sticky Date Cake with orange blossom caramel sauce.

And of course, my cookbook! Rose Water & Orange Blossoms: Fresh and Classic Recipes from My Lebanese Kitchen.

Sip on a delicious orange blossom drink by making what the Lebanese call café blanc, or “white coffee.” It is in fact more like a simple tea of hot water infused with a few drops of orange blossom water. The elixer is even better with a touch of sugar or honey. Drink it hot or cold.

 

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8 Comments

  1. Oh goodness, I’m thirsty already, just reading about this! It is SO hot in Charleston this summer — and your pictures are so refreshing!!

  2. Love the descriptions Maureen. I am going to have to try to make the White Coffee and conjure up visions of Michigan last summer!

  3. My grandmother would make me some wazaher whenever I would complain of a tummy ache as a kid; the mymouneh sisters are the aunts of my sister-in-law and maybe we can go visit them in Lebanon next time you are there.

    1. Oh Joumana, that is just so nice. I will email you about Mymoune–I would love to visit with you!!

  4. Really good recipe, But The Original Old Recipe of “Kahwe Bayda” Is Made With Mint Leaves, 2/3 Hands Full Mint Leaves, In a Tea Pot, 1TBS Honey, Then Pour Hot Water, & add 3cl Mazaher.

  5. Thank you for this most interesting introduction to and uses for orange blossom water. Your writing is beautifully descriptive Maureen.