One of the best things about modern life is the availability of pumpkin year ‘round. And when I say “pumpkin,” it’s one of those times where is’s perfectly acceptable to use a canned product. Have you ever tried to make your own pumpkin puree? it’s super labor-intensive and honestly, commercially-canned pumpkin is a superior canned product.
And if you are one of those people who just love love love pumpkin, you hate hate hate that so many people think it’s a seasonal food. To wit, this versatile pumpkin creme brûlée. It’s not only for Thanksgiving or Christmas, though the flavor profile certainly fits.
Let me dispel a myth right now: creme brûlée isn’t a mysterious, difficult dessert that requires a lot of technical skill, a la a Yule log. Simply follow this recipe, including the water bath technique (believe me, if you start with cold water in the water bath, your timing is going to be way off. Lesson learned!) and use of a small hand torch to create the perfect carmelizing the sugar.
Also, don’t skip the caramel-pumpkin sauce! It totally completes this recipe. The play of sweet and salty on your palate is what makes this dish different from most creme brûlées. And it’s also super-easy to make! Follow the recipe and the techniques and you won’t be disappointed.
The spices used are indeed reminiscent of what you expect with you are making a pumpkin-based dessert, but the spices are not so overpowering that you are teleported immediately to “fall.” You’ll enjoy this dessert any time of the year.
Surprise! This is a dessert your kids will enjoy too! Who doesn’t like crunchy caramelized sugar on top of a silky-smooth custard?
What flavors remind you most of fall fancy dinners? Are you the type of person who is perfectly happy preparing and eating a pumpkin anything in the summer? If not, make this and I feel you’ll be a convert.
Pumpkin-Caramel Créme Brûlée
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 large bourbon vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 8 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup caramel-pumpkin sauce
- Whipped cream
How to cook Pumpkin-Caramel Créme Brûlée
- Preheat oven to 350º
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan, whisk in the vanilla bean seeds, ground cinnamon, ground allspice, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground coriander and cook over medium-low heat, and whisk until it begins to bubble, about five minutes. DON’T BOIL IT.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the egg yolks and 1/2 cup of the sugar until light in color. Slowly, with the mixer still running, add the cream mixture. Fold in the pumpkin caramel sauce.
- Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl or measuring cup, then divide the mixture amongst 6 6-ounce ramekins.
- Place the filled ramekins in a large baking dish, and place in the oven. Once in the oven, pour enough hot water to the dish so it reaches half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Bake until the créme brûlée is set around the edges, about 20 to 30 minutes. DON’T OVERBAKE.
- Carefully remove the ramekins from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to let them cool to room temperature. Refrigerate for at least six hours or up to overnight.
- Before serving, remove the Créme brûlée from the refrigerator at least 10 minutes prior to serving. Sprinkle enough of the sugar over the top of each custard, and with a kitchen torch, melt the sugar, constantly moving the torch so the sugar doesn’t burn.
- Serve the Créme brûlée immediately with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.