Pumpkin Crème Brulee YUMMMM!!
Late summer has come and gone. But there are parts of fall that are truly dreamy. Fall colors shone beautifully in the trees and my mums are thriving. The best of fall fruits and vegetables are popping up at the grocery stores and on displays. Pumpkins in different sizes and colorful acorn squash make a perfect centerpiece for a fall table. My cold desserts recipes are on the back shelves and I’ve started sifting through my favorite fall recipes. Here’s one of my favorites, Pumpkin Crème Brulee.
I’ve used a variation of Bert Green’s Pumpkin Crème Brulee for years and it’s always been a hit.
Most people find the delish crunchy crackling topping the hardest part to create without burning the brown sugar or not creating an even effect. I have three versions of how to do this. I’ve tried all three and they all work.
The original recipe calls for one large ramekin, but then I would never share. I like to use single serving sizes so each person can covet their own! I like using different size ramekins, not everyone wants a big, serving… just a taste to cleanse their palate. I suggest you use at least 1 teaspoon of light brown sugar per ramekin. Make sure it’s evenly spread. Shake the ramekin and spin it and then spread the rest carefully using the end of a spoon or knife to get the edges. This is very important.
HOW TO’s OF A CRUNCHY TOPPING: You can buy a kitchen blow torch which will run you between $36 to $65. They are small and will do the trick, but it takes time and lots of butane to do 8 or more ramekins. I prefer putting that expensive kitchen gadget away and going to your garage or local hardware store and get a real blow torch. (Don’t forget the goggles and to clear the area of any flammable stuff. This is when my husband takes the kids, leaves the house, and checks our insurance plan. I say trust your inner flame thrower!) The torch works incredible well and fast. Blast for about 10-15 seconds in the center – not too close. Make sure the edges are also done. My blowtorch cost $17 at my local hardware store. (get the kind with the built-in self ignitor, it’s so much easier.)
For those of you who are not ‘blow torch ready’, you can use your broiler. Make sure the sugar is evenly spread! Preheat your broiler. Adjust your oven rack so that the top of the crème brulee is about 3 inches from the heat. Broil until the sugar melts and turns brown, about 1-3 minutes. Watch them carefully. Remember that ovens have hotter and colder spots. You may need to rotate some of the ramekins.
(The original recipe can be found in the book Classic Home Desserts by Richard Sax Published by Chapters Publishing Ltd., 1994)
Here’s my version:
I prefer the use of more spices – I love the warmth of cinnamon, ginger, cloves and nutmeg, but if you prefer a mellower brulee, decrease the amounts ginger, nutmeg and cloves by half. This recipe serves 8 and can easily be doubled.
- 3 cups heavy cream
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 large egg yolks (room temperature)
- 2/3 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
- ½ tsp each ground ginger, nutmeg and ground cloves
- 1 tbsp dark rum (optional, I didn’t use it)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 – 2 tsp of light brown sugar per ramekin
- Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Prepare a large roasting pan with 8 ramekins on it and set aside.
- In a saucepan combine the heavy cream and regular sugar. Stir frequently until the sugar dissolves. Turn off heat.
- In a clean bowl, whisk the egg yolks until light and fluffy, then gradually whisk in the pumpkin and spices. Slowly whisk in the hot cream mixture. Then stir in the rum, if using, and vanilla.
- Pour or ladle the mixture in the ramekins. Set the pan on the center rack and then pour enough hot water to reach half way up the ramekins.
- Bake until the custard is set but still slightly wobbly in the center – about 1 ½ hours.
- Remove the ramekins from the water and cool to room temperature on a wire rack.
- Cover and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- Now it’s time for the crunchy top layer!! There are a few ways to create that brown sugar caramelized hard top. Please see my notes above.
- Once you’ve browned the top, set each ramekin on a plate (The top will be warm and hard and the custard cool and creamy) and serve!
A few berries on the side would add some color! ENJOY!!
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