Dec 08, 2019 Last Updated 6:31 AM, Nov 9, 2017

“First Date” Rose Tea Pots de Crème

Rick Griggs's “First Date” Rose Tea Pots de Crème

Pomegranate rose gelée, saffron crème brûlée, Turkish dried fruit chutney, garam masala phyllo crisps by Rick Griggs of Abacus in Dallas, TX.

“First Date” was inspired by a cooking class at Abacus based on Middle Eastern and Indian Cookery. Although the custards are classic French technique, the emphasis was on the flavor profiles and pantries of the aforementioned regions.  The flavors of Rose, Saffron, and spice mixture with a profile of Garam Masala enhance this assorted pastry sampler.

Vanilla Custard Base:

  • 3 vanilla beans, split and scraped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 7 oz granulated sugar, divided
  • 32 oz heavy cream
  • 16 oz whole milk
  • 15 egg yolks

Combine vanilla beans, salt, half the sugar, cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to a scald on medium heat. Remove from heat, add remaining sugar to yolks and combine with a whisk. Slowly temper hot cream mixture into egg yolks with a rubber spatula until all cream is added and strain mixture through a fine sieve. Separate the custard equally between two nonreactive containers.

Rose Tea Pots de Crème:

  • 2 bags rose tea (I use “Tazo Rest”-Rose Tea)

Open tea bag contents into one of the custard bases and whisk to incorporate.

Saffron Pots de Crème:

  • Pinch of saffron strands

Add just enough saffron to one of the custard bases to impart a slight golden yellow. Too much can be overpowering.


Cool the custards in an ice water bath and then refrigerate overnight with the flavorings. The next day, strain both custards through a fine sieve before baking. Arrange sake cups in shallow baking pan and pour in custard bases. Do not fill the rose flavor to the very top as space is needed to add the pomegranate gelée. The saffron will need to be filled to the very top of the sake cup as this will be bruléed. If you do not fill completely the brulée will not burn correctly and the rim will burn before the custard is properly bruléed. Once the sake cups are properly filled, pour warm water into the shallow pan about half way up the sides of the sake cups.  Carefully cover the pan with aluminum foil and poke a few holes on top for steam to escape. If you do not poke holes in top of foil, the custard may curdle from excessive steam. Bake in a 300°F. convection for about 30 minutes, checking after that every every 15 minutes or so until the custard is set. Allow custards to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. Once thoroughly chilled prepare the pomegranate gelée for the rose pots de crème.

Pomegranate Gelée:

  • 16 oz/454 g pomegranate puree/juice
  • 8 oz/227 g granulated sugar
  • 1 “Tazo Rest” rose tea (leave bag intact)
  • 0.5 oz/15 g sheet gelatin, bloomed

1. Heat the pomegranate to a scald and remove from heat.

2. Add the tea bag to the pot and allow mixture to steep for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the tea bag and bring pomegranate juice to 120°F. Add the sugar and bloomed gelatin and stir to dissolve. Cool to room temperature before topping off chilled rose tea pots de crème. Then refrigerate sake cups to set gelatin.

Turkish Dried Fruit Chutney:

  • 1 750-ml bottle of dessert wine such as a Sauterne
  • 7 oz/200 g granulated sugar
  • 2 bags “Tazo Rest” rose tea (leave bags intact)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 12 oz/340 g Calimyrna figs
  • 12 oz/340 g Black mission figs
  • 12 oz/340 g Medjool dates
  • 12 oz/340 g dried apricots
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • ½ orange
  • 4 oz/113 g verjus

Combine dessert wine and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a scald. Add tea bags and saffron. Remove from heat and prepare dried fruit. Remove stems from figs and cut in half. Pit the dates and julienne them and the dried apricots. Add dried fruit, star anise, cinnamon sticks and ½ orange to the saucepan with dessert wine and bring to a simmer. Simmer until fruit is tender and mixture is thick. Remove from heat and add verjus. Cool in a shallow dish until ready to use. Refrigerate to store product.

Phyllo Crisps:

  • 4 sheets phyllo
  • Equal parts garam masala (Indian spice mix) and granulated sugar mixture
  • Clarified butter

1. On a very flat surface (such as marble) place a sheet of parchment and top with one sheet of phyllo. Brush with clarified butter and sprinkle evenly with garam masala sugar. Repeat until all sheets are used stacking each sheet over the next as in making a baklava. Finish with garam masala sugar.

2. Place a sheet of parchment over the stacked phyllo and roll a rolling pin over paper to smooth out the sheets. Refrigerate the phyllo assembly between the sheets until set and hard.  

3. Remove the top sheet and cut with a long bladed knife to make long triangles.  Leave on sheet just as they have been cut. Place parchment back on top of phyllo and weigh the parchment down with an inverted icing rack. Bake for 10 minutes in 300° F. convection oven until golden brown. Allow crisps to cool and remove top sheet of parchment. Triangles will be perfectly baked and ready for service. Store in a tightly sealed container.


  • Chiffonade of fresh rose petals
  • Chopped Turkish pistachios

1. Coat tops of saffron crème with granulated sugar or raw sugar and then torch to brûlée them.

2. Place both custards diagonally, dot chutney on plate and arrange long phyllo triangles on each custard. Top chutney with rose petals and pistachios.  

Click here to read more about this and related recipes in the article "Going Global."

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