What better way to start things than with this deliciously elegant rose crème brûlée, one of my favourite desserts!
The idea for making a rose crème brûlée came while I was living in London a few years ago. I adore watching food channels and that mania started way back in the 90s (the beginning of the ‘dish antenna’ phenomenon in Pakistan) when I was exposed to the utterly delicious channel BBC Food on ‘the dish’.
Sadly BBC Food stopped airing in Pakistan fairly soon, but I was delighted to find it again on tv, years and years later, in London. I was hooked on BBC Good Food and Food Network and one of the shows I’d watch regularly was “Giada at Home” featuring the lovely Giada De Laurentiis.
On an episode of the show, very romantically titled “We’ll Always Have Paris”, Miss De Laurentiis made gorgeous Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme and I knew right away that I would make a similar raspberry rose-ish dessert one day.
Though I still haven’t tried my hand at Giada’s Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme, the recipe on the show in London inspired me to make rose flavoured crème brûlée years later, back in Lahore, Pakistan.
Summer can be brutal in most parts of Pakistan. With temperatures high enough to test the patience of a saint, food that calls for minimum effort and as little time in the kitchen as possible is obviously called for though this dragon fire summer heat usually does little to deter most of us Pakistanis from slaving over elaborate meals in hellishly hot kitchens because we are slaves to our tastebuds.
Rose crème brûlée is a pretty fuss-free dessert. It takes mere minutes to combine the few ingredients called for in the recipe, bake them and then let the fridge do the chilling and final setting. It is the perfect summer dessert. I make it year round.
The Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme recipe uses rose water for flavour; I still haven’t found the kind of rose water that I’d like to put in a dessert. The search continues.
Red rose syrup, very popular in Pakistan for making cooling summer drinks was a revelation when I added it to the crème brûlée mixture. The amount I use in the recipe adds a lovely but subtle rose flavour and pretty pink color. It is a very heady syrup and too much of it can be quite overpowering so you have been warned.
I’ve used raspberries to garnish the rose crème brûlée because of the Raspberry Rose Pots de Creme inspiration but strawberries look pretty and go well with it too. The two-toned rose petals are from a rose bush planted by my Dad in my home garden.
You can caramelize the sugar under a hot grill in the oven for a few minutes but I highly recommend getting a kitchen torch for this, which is quite inexpensive and fairly easily available.
And in order to get the kind of picture perfect, evenly blistered crème brûlée top that one sees on Pinterest and blogs and in cookbooks and food magazines, use granulated brown sugar or demerara sugar and a kitchen torch. I will forever be grateful to Nigella Lawson, the ultimate domestic goddess, for this priceless tip.
This recipe was featured in the first issue of “My Kisan Kitchen” a Pakistani food and lifestyle magazine.
Rose Crème Brûlée
Recipe Type: Dessert Author: Alice In Eatland
Prep Time: 10 Minutes Cook Time: 20 Minutes Total Time: 30 Minutes Serves: 2
Creamy pink rose flavoured crème brûlée. If you like traditional crème brûlée, you will love this lusciously exotic take on the classic dream dessert.
- 2 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp red rose syrup (the kind used to make red summer drinks – I like Rooh Afza)
- 1 pack (around 200 ml) cream
- 1/2 a vanilla bean or 1 tsp good vanilla essence or extract
- A few tablespoons granulated brown sugar or demerara sugar
- Fresh raspberries, strawberries or any other fruit
- Fresh rose petals and leaves, thoroughly washed and dried
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F).
- Stir yolks and red rose syrup together until combined.
- Put the cream in a pan, scrape in the vanilla seeds from the pod or add the vanilla essence or extract, stir and bring to the boil while stirring.
- Remove from heat and whisk into the yolk and red rose syrup mixture until well mixed.
- Strain this mixture into 2 ramekins or a single ovenproof dish.
- Put these in a larger ovenproof pan and carefully pour boiling water inside the larger pan until it comes nearly halfway up the sides of the ramekins/dish.
- Carefully put into preheated oven and bake.
- Check after 15-20 minutes; shake the ramekins/dish gently – if the sides look set and the centre still wobbles, the custard is ready. If it needs more time, check after 2-5 minute intervals. Do not over-bake.
- Remove from oven and cool to room temperature and then chill in the fridge for at least 4-6 hours.
- When ready to serve, take out ramekins from fridge, sprinkle enough granulated brown sugar or demerara sugar to form an even layer all over. Tilt and gently shake the ramekins to help the sugar spread evenly. Make sure the entire surface of the custard is covered with sugar.
- Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen torch until burnished and dark.
- Put back in the fridge for at least 5 minutes to let the custard cool down from the heat.
- Garnish with fresh fruit and decorate with fresh rose petals and leaves just before serving.