Rose sugar crème brulee with an eastern infusion

I have a soft spot for Pakistani desserts, but I am always drawn by the simplicity of the western crème brulee.

Sumayya Usmani August 19, 2015
Roses remind me of summers in my grandmother’s intoxicating garden. As the sun sets, the sultry Karachi air shifts to a humid cool sea breeze, bringing with it the scent of her lovingly tended blossoms of motia (jasmine), roses, hibiscus, petunia and bougainvillea.

As I made my way from the connecting door between my home and hers, her garden beckoned with captivating floral scents. As I strolled through while picking a few blossoms, it was the wafts of cardamom, milk and rice pudding from her kitchen that would make me find my way to her doorstep.

I have a soft spot for Pakistani desserts; their combination of sweet spice and floral essences captivates me, but I am always drawn by the simplicity of crème brulee in my western repertoire. In this recipe, I have combined a basic crème brulee with a famous Pakistani dessert, kheer (rice pudding).  It’s a creation from a sensory memory of my Nani’s (maternal grandmother) garden, her warm kitchen and her comforting kheer that would entice me away from my homework and chores and find me being pampered with her love, flavour and wonderful cooking.

Serves: Six people

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30-40 minutes (including chilling time)


Double cream– 1 pint

Rose water – 1 tsp

Green cardamoms – 3 (seeds removed and crushed)

Large egg yolks – 4

Caster sugar – 130 grams

Pink edible rose petals – 2 tbsp

Rose buds – a few to garnish


1. To make the rose sugar, add all the rose petals with sugar and keep in an air tight jar for about three to six days, allowing the fragrance of roses to infuse with the sugar.

2. When ready to make the dessert, pour cream into a saucepan on low heat and add the cardamom. Bring this to a boil and then remove from the heat, allowing the flavours to infuse and the cream to cool for 20 minutes.

3. Set six ramekins in a baking tin. Add water to the baking tin so that the water level reaches halfway of the ramekins.

4. Beat the egg yolks in a bowl with about one to two tablespoon of the rose sugar and slowly add the infused cream in a thin stream into the beaten egg yolks until all combined. Add the rose water and stir slowly. Pour through a strainer into a jug.

5. Pour the mixture into the ramekins equally. Bake in an oven at 150 degrees Celsius for about 30 to 40 minutes.

6. Once cooked, remove from oven and cool for three to four hours or overnight.

7. Sprinkle the remaining rose sugar over each crème brulee to form a thin layer of sugar. Either place in oven for two to three minutes until sugar is caramelised or using a blow torch caramelise the sugar until brown and hard.

8. Cool for another hour in the fridge until the top is hard. Decorate with rose buds and serve cold.

This piece originally appeared here.
Sumayya Usmani She is a writer and cookery teacher based in London, UK, specialising in the cuisine of Pakistan WHERE she was born and raised. She blogs at and tweets as @MyTamarindKtchn ( She is also the author of a cookbook, Summers under the Tamarind Tree.
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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Parvez | 4 years ago | Reply | Recommend Its such a tasty desert.....I'm surprised that no one had anything to say. When I was younger, after a good dinner I'd always leave room for a big gooey chocolate I'm a bit more mellow and a creme brulee ( shared ) does just fine.
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