Friday, August 10, 2012

Rose Water Crème Brûlée Infused with Saffron

Crème Brûlée..
I barely have words to describe how delicate this dessert is. My heart gives a little leap of joy every time I break through the thin crisp layer of caramelized sugar to sample (read devour) the velvety smooth custard underneath. And best of all, it is as easy to make as it is delicious. Over the years I've made Crème Brûlée with vanilla beans and never did I consider that such perfection could be improved. But, as always I am happy to be proven wrong. I'm glad to report that flavored with saffron and rose water, this iconic French dessert is elevated to a whole new level. Go on. Buy some saffron this weekend. It's absolutely worth the splurge. Also, if you don't own a kitchen torch you could just leave out the whole caramelization bit, call it rose water and saffron pudding and no one would be the wiser.

Crème Brûlée
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
3 extra large egg yolks (60 grams)
2 tablespoon + 2 teaspoon sugar (40 grams)
1 1/2 tablespoon rose water
1/4 teaspoon saffron

First thing's first. Pre-heat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Then, begin by heating the heavy cream till you see bubbles around the edge of your non stick pan. You do not want the cream to come to a boil. All you need is for it to simmer gently.

Now turn off the heat and add crushed saffron. Give it a quick stir, cover the pot and forget it exists for the next 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile mix the yolk with sugar till it dissolves. You keep mixing till the color of the yolk appears to be a little lighter.

Add the saffron cream mixture (which has taken on a delicate yellow hue by now) to the yolk sugar concoction while stirring continuously. 

You'll see that this recipe does not make a lot. This is because it's hard to stop eating this dessert if there's a lot in the fridge. So, unless you are making for company stick to making small amounts. You waistline will thank me.

Now back to the recipe. Strain custard into a pourable container (a 2 cup measuring dish perhaps) and pour equal amounts in four ramekins that have been placed in a rimmed baking pan. It doesn't matter whether the pan is made of glass or not. As long the little dishes fit comfortable, you are fine.

Stick the pan into the oven and fill up the pan with boiling hot water so that the ramekins are half submerged in water. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until the custard barely sets. The center should still jiggle when you take it out of the oven. As the residual heat from the ramekins will finish the cooking process.
I can not stress how important this is. To get the best consistency, the custard needs to be taken out before the center's completely set.

Now chill the custard in the fridge overnight or at least an hour or two. I don't know if you've noticed but these are different ramekins, as the first batch was gone before I could take pictures.

Spread a thin layer a sugar on top and caramelize with a cooking torch or a small propane torch available at hardware stores.
 The sugar bubbles and sizzles...

Before settling down to form a crisp layer.

Chill for 5 minutes to cool down the custard. Break open with a spoon.

And cherish every bite


  1. I don't have anything like these small cups in my kitchen.Any suggestions about what else can I use to make this?I have pyrex bowls.Can I use that?

  2. You should be fine using any shallow dish. Just make sure to still use a water bath and add 10-15 minutes of extra cook time. It's just like making what we call "pudding" back home. Take it out when the center still jiggles a little. Let me know how it goes. :)