Saffron Crème Brûlée

 

A sweet and thoughtful friend of mine gave me these cute crème brûlée ramekins last Christmas. I've been wanting to use them from the time I unwrapped the gift. Fortunately, this long weekend was all I needed to show her my absolute appreciation.

I had a bottle of Saffron (a gift from my in-laws) that I couldn't wait to incorporate in this dessert. Other people only associate Saffron with savoury dishes like Paella but I wanted to be adventurous. Don't get me wrong, I know I wasn't the first person to think of using Saffron in a dessert but I imagined that earthy and almost honey-like taste that it distinctly has would go well with crème brûlée. I also felt that since Saffron has a Middle-Eastern/European vibe to it, I wanted to add another intensity of flavor and texture with some chopped salted pistachios.

It's overall a rich dessert to finish a meal with but it's a good date night-in dessert for your special someone. Or a recipe to include on your Valentine's day menu!


Saffron Crème brûlée

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Whipping cream
  • 2 big pinches of Saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg yolks, large
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • Sugar, for garnish
  • Chopped Salted Pistachio nuts, for garnish
  • Boiling water for water bath

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit.
  2. On medium-heat, pour cream and saffron threads in a small saucepan until bubbling on the sides. About 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Saffron threads should release a rich yellow color. Let cool slightly, 5 minutes.
  3. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolk, sugar and salt until it becomes a pale yellow color. Slowly pour in the warm cream and add the vanilla extract.
  4. Place crème brûlée ramekins in a baking pans. Pour the custard mixture evenly onto 8-10 ramekins until almost full.
  5. Pour water onto the baking pan being very careful not to put any on the ramekins. Slowly place the baking pan inside the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes.
  6. When cooked, the custard should still jiggle slightly. Let cool for 20 minutes and refrigerate. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  7. When ready to serve, sprinkle sugar onto the set custard making sure to cover the whole top.
  8. "Burn" the sugar with a torch or turn on your oven's broiler setting for about 3-5 minutes until it gets an amber color.
  9. Serve with chopped salted pistachios.
Notes
You may strain the custard to remove the saffron threads for a smoother and more pristine custard. But you may also leave it as is for a deeper Saffron flavor.