Bethany Kehdy

A Champion of Middle Eastern Food & Recipes

Rosewater & Mascarpone Sorbet with Semsemiyeh & a Fairy Tale Wedding in Rome

Rosewater & Mascarpone Sorbet with Semsemiyeh

All good things must come to an end, and now here I am back in my kitchen, in my pajamas, my hair in tangles, listening to the chickpeas boil on the stove. I rub my eyes- was it all a dream?

I am physically back from Rome where I’ve spent the last seven days playing Maid of Honor at my cousin Mel’s fairytale wedding. Being a maid has never been so fun! It’s been hard getting back into the groove after such an extravagant time.

(picture courtesy of Jerry Ghionis)

I spent the last seven days being lavishly pampered and courteously waited on. Hair and make-up was professionally done, with no exaggeration, twice a day. Exquisite dresses and gowns were draped on, before we were ushered away to smart lunches and 7-course dinners at some of the most beautiful & historic spots in Rome. One of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had was the spectacular dinner at Villa Medici. Need I say more?  All this while succumbing to the mighty photographic powers of the ever so brilliant, Jerry Ghionis. The only other surreal experience I can compare this to was Miss World 2002. I have to say this topped it for many reasons but primarily being my cousin’s wedding.




If you read my last post you will know that the reason this recipe comes a little bit after Valentine is because I managed to forget my recipe book at home and didn’t realize it till I got to Rome. Let’s not get into the details of all that, O.K?

I’m not much of a fan of rosewater usually, always preferring to use orange blossom water. However, in Lebanon, we have a rosewater ice cream that I’ve never been able to resist. I also love semsimiyeh or sesame candy. It’s sweet and crunchy and so moreish that I warn you: Make at your own peril or welfare if you’re anything like me! The combination of the two could, well, perhaps, maybe soothe the withdrawals I’ve been nursing.

Rosewater & Mascarpone Sorbet with Semsemiyeh & a Fairy Tale Wedding in Rome
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 6
For the rosewater & mascarpone sorbet (Will last in freezer about 2 months)
  • 350g or around 2 cups of mascarpone
  • 30ml or about 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 107g or ½ cup of sugar
  • 60ml or ¼ cup of golden or corn syrup
  • 250ml or 1 cup of water
  • 15ml or 2 tablespoons of Rose water
For the semsemiyeh candy (if, IF there are left overs they will last 2-3 weeks in a closed container)
  • 125g or 1 cup of sesame seeds
  • 100g or ½ cup of sugar
  • 125ml or ½ cup of water
  • 25ml or ½ teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 12’x9? thin baking tray slightly oiled with sesame oil (see below)
  • about 1 teaspoon of sesame seed oil
For the sorbet
  1. Begin by adding water, sugar, syrup, rosewater and lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Heat on medium flame and stir occasionally till the sugar dissolves. Now, increase the heat and bring it to a boil. Remove and leave to cool.
  2. Once it has cooled add it to the mascarpone, mix well and place in the freezer or if you have an ice cream machine then use according to machine directions.
  3. If you are going to churn by hand then follow this method: After 45 minutes remove from freezer and mix well making sure to break up all the ice crystals to get a creamy end result. Return to the fridge and then after 30 minutes remove and repeat the process again, breaking up all the ice crystals that have developed. Repeat 2-3 more times.
For the semsemiyeh
  1. Begin by toasting the sesame seeds in a heavy-bottomed chef pan, stirring continuously. this should take no longer than 5 minutes and be sure not to take your eyes off them. Once toasted remove and set aside in a bowl, allowing them to cool down.
  2. In the mean time, add the sugar, water, lemon juice to a heavy-bottomed sauce pan and bring to a bowl and then lower to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the syrup to the toasted sesame seeds, mix well and quickly spread thinly on a oiled baking tray. You will need to use a spoon as well as your hands to help push the syrupy sesame seeds into place. Once they are spread evenly across take a sharp knife and score them. First cut a line through the center vertically then continue with scoring triangles from each half. Leave out to cool about 15-30 minutes. The end result will be crispy sesame triangle candies.


30 thoughts on “Rosewater & Mascarpone Sorbet with Semsemiyeh & a Fairy Tale Wedding in Rome

  1. Welcome back honey! That picture above of the wedding looks STUNNING – very fairy tale! Can’t wait to see more. You sound like you had such a fab time – I’m so jealous. I’m sure it wasn’t easy being wined and dined and pampered as you were =)

    You know I’m not a massive fan of rosewater either, so I might just substitute it for orange blossom as you suggest. Gorgeous photos! I’ll email you later xxx

  2. oh that wedding shot looks incredible. glad to have you back though . i am still beating myself up for not being able to see you in dubai. as for the recipe – the cool thing is i bought a bottle of rosewater back with me!!

  3. That’s a beautiful wedding picture, and how smart of them to get married in February. I went to a wedding in Rome at the end of August and we were sweltering in the church at 7:30 at night! That’s some good stuff to soothe the harshness of reality, but I can’t really believe that your hair is in tangles. 😉

  4. Ohhhh my breath caught in my throat at the beauty of that amazing bridal couple photograph.. almost ethereal looking but just beautiful. Congratulations to the happy couple. May their lives together be richly blessed.

    And as for the other photos, with the soft pink rose petals against the white background, the stark whiteness of that stunning sorbet and that delightful little dagger of sesame pierced into it….that makes me drooooooool and long for some of it to cool the heat we are experiencing here in Cape Town right now….beautiful post Beth, well done xx

  5. Wonderful to have you back even if it means you are having to cook your own meals and do your own hair now!
    These photos are beautiful – both food and from the wedding. I hadn’t heard of semsemiyeh but it sounds a bit like those sesame things you get in Holland & Barratt in tiny packets – I bet the real thing is way way nicer.

  6. welcome back b ! but no rush getting out of those tangles and into a regular routine — now is the time to enjoy reliving all the wonderful moments you just spent with your cousin – and those getting pampered too ! it sounds dreamy, and just that one photo above confirms ! wow !!

    funny timing, i recently posted a recipe from a belizean chef for his childhood sesame candy called wangla (, but i’m even more tempted by yours here ! 🙂

  7. Aloha…What more can i say that B has not already said. This was a truly special time for all involved. I gained many pounds and look forward to gaining a few more eating this! As ever your creativeness with regards to recipes and pictures continues to grow and grow.

    D.K.S Rocks.

  8. Welcome back Beth. I can imagine how hard it can be to return to reality after such a fairytale week. I’d love to see more of the wedding photos. The one above is gorgeous.
    And oh, I’m a fledgling foodie again. I’ve never tasted or tried to use a rosewater 🙁 But I love the sesame candy. My mom used to buy it for me when I was younger! 🙂 It never occurred to me to make it at home though.

  9. Wow you’re back up and running full force! I’m sure you found a lot of inspiration in Rome.

    Well done Beth, I’m so so proud of you :p

  10. Welcome back, sweetie. Absolutely love the picture of thr couple; such a dream like quality about it. The ice cream looks great too. I have two bottles of rose water sitting for ages now, must put them to use. And the sesame candy is one of my favourites.

  11. How lovely! 🙂 Your adventure sounds supremely fun, exotic and memorable. So splendid to be spoiled! 🙂 Semsemiyeh is a childhood favorite of mine. My 3 brothers and I would be SO excited when Dad brought some home for us. 🙂 But I’ve never tried making it before! So delighted to see your recipe. 🙂

  12. Good to have you back! I have just spent the last 20 mins browsing through the photographer’s site. In a simple word: WOW! The photograph above is stunning.

  13. Wow that is some wedding. Beautiful Photo in the door way. I have Rosewater in my cupboard but haven’t used it yet. I’m not sure if I’ll like the taste. tried Rose liquer recently and didn’t like it at all.

  14. Welcome back! What a great way to spend a week or so – being pampered and eating in wonderful places – please please post more pictures!

    And Miss World 2002??? Wow – I didn’t realize you were a contestant – would love to hear more about that too!

    Beauty, brains, and great cooking skills?! Life aint fair! 🙂

  15. I’ve been longing to make sesame snaps…..with some black smoked sesame seeds. Thanks…..for this weekend………

    And I LOVE Mascarpone!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Welcome back dear. The wedding sounds fantastic! 7 days of pampering…!

  16. Hi Beth,
    As the Mother of the groom I can confirm that it was the most magical experience. You were absolutely beautiful and your wonderful best British man was outstanding and priceless!! I look forward to the Italian influence mix dishes.

  17. Agreeing with Susie I must say you looked faboulous aswell 🙂 I was wondering, can the sesame snaps be bought prepared or are they a homemade must?

  18. I wanna be at that fairy tale wedding too. Congrats to the bride and groom – sure is a beautiful shot of them two! 🙂 And what a lipsmackingly good sorbet to accompany the event. Oh Beth, I feel a little dreamy looking at your pictures. The colour of those rose petals is one quite rare I believe? x

  19. Sounds like a fairytale wedding indeed. 🙂 Beautiful photos and that semsemiyeh looks like the same Chinese sesame candied snack I love when I was a little girl. I wonder if it is the same. 🙂 It’s hard to come back to normal life after such a wonderful week in Rome.

  20. Wow! gorgeous pictures. sounds like you had a grand time in Rome. love the flavor combination of rosewater and sesame, very Middle Eastern (where I am)

  21. Hey Beth!
    Who is your cousin getting married to? one of Berlusconi’s sons?
    Great pics and great recipe! I am surprised you resisted putting a dash of pink in the ice cream: you are right, it looks more elegant and wedding-like this way.
    Ciao, bella!

  22. I’m not a fan of rosewater myself, but the sesame seed candy is mighty fine looking. I’ve never been able to keep them longer than a week when I get them from the Chinese grocer.

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