Rich and inviting pumpkin creme brulee is surprisingly easy to make, and it is a fabulous special dessert to make for a special meal.
One thing I like about this pumpkin creme brulee it is that it can be made a day or two in advance. Just before serving time, take the custards out of the refrigerator and melt the sugar. I prefer a kitchen torch because it's easier to control the browning, but the sugar can be caramelized under the broiler as well.
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar, packed
- 1 teaspoon grated cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger or about 1/2 teaspoon of fresh finely grated ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground or fresh grated nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 6 teaspoons superfine sugar or raw sugar, for topping*
Heat the oven to 300 F.
Place 6 ramekins in a large baking pan.
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the heavy cream, milk or half-and-half, the brown sugar, and the spices. Cook, stirring, until the mixture is hot and just begins to simmer. Remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl with the vanilla, salt, and 1/3 cup of granulated sugar.
While whisking constantly, pour about 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks.
Whisk until smooth. Return the egg yolk and cream mixture to the saucepan and whisk to blend. Whisk in the pumpkin until well blended.
Place a fine mesh sieve over a large bowl and pour the pumpkin custard mixture through the sieve into the bowl.
Bring a pot of water to a boil.
Pour the pumpkin cream mixture into the ramekins. Pour boiling water into the outer pan until it is about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes. The custards will still have a slight jiggle when done.
Place the ramekins on a rack to cool; discard the water.
When the ramekins are cooled to room temperature, place them back in the empty pan. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 3 hours or overnight.
Just before serving, sprinkle 1 teaspoon of superfine, raw, or granulated sugar over each pumpkin creme brulee. Using a kitchen torch, carefully melt the sugar until golden brown while turning the ramekin to brown the topping evenly. The ramekins will become hot from the torch, so use an oven mitt to turn the custards as you melt the sugar. The topping will harden in a minute or two.
Alternatively, preheat the broiler and broil the custards just until the topping has browned. Check them frequently and turn the ramekins as needed to brown evenly.
*I prefer superfine sugar for the creme brulee topping but many people swear by raw sugar. You may use regular granulated sugar as well.
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