Pumpkin Spice Creme Brulee
Simple on the one hand, and quite elegant on the other, this dessert always gets a five-star rating around our table. Directly translated, the French term, crème brûlée means “burnt cream.” The addition of the classic fall flavors of pumpkin spice warmly complement the subtle cream base. The making of crème brûlée is all technique. Once mastered – and it’s easy to do so — this dessert will become a signature dish in your repertoire.
Ingredients:3 cups heavy cream1/2 cup granulated white sugar, divided1 tablespoon vanilla extract1 cup pumpkin puree1/4 teaspoon cinnamon1/8 teaspoon cloves1/8 teaspoon nutmeg6 large egg yolks1/8 teaspoon Kosher saltTopping:1/4 cup white sugar1/4 cup brown sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place individual ramekins in a larger rimmed baking pan.
- In a saucepan, heat the cream, and add 1/4 cup of the sugar. Add the vanilla extract, 1 cup pumpkin puree, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg and bring to a simmer – just short of a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a medium mixing bowl with a hand mixer or whisk, beat together the egg yolks, the other half of the sugar (1/4 cup), and salt until well combined and slightly lightened in color.
- Temper the egg yolk mixture by drizzling in a half a cup of the warm cream while continuously whisking. Repeat the addition of warmed cream in increments until all is added. Go slowly to avoid scrambling the eggs!
- If needed, pour the mixture through a fine sieve to remove any curdled egg. Skim off any foam that forms on the top of the mixture.
- Pour the mixture into individual ramekins filling them nearly to top. Place the baking pan of ramekins in the oven. Using a small pitcher, carefully add water to the pan to surround the ramekins to a height halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake at 325°F until thecustard is set — that is, when the edges are set and the center has thickened yet still has a little jiggle. Baking times vary depending on the type and size of ramekin used, and the depth of the custard. Our custard was 1/2-inch deep, and we baked the ramekins for 30 minutes. Deeper ramekins may take up to 60 minutes to bake.
- Once the custard has set,carefully remove the ramekins from the water and let cool on a cooling rack. Cover each ramekin with plastic wrap and chill thoroughly in the refrigerator for 4 hours. or for up to 3 days.
- Just prior to serving, remove the ramekins from the refrigerator and pat the tops of the custard with a paper towel to remove any condensation or weeping. Sprinkle the brown sugar and sugar mixture on top of the custard to cover it in a thin, even layer. Using a culinary torch, heat the sugar top using a sweeping circular motion to melt the sugar. When the sugar is melted and turning an amber color, move on to the next ramekin. The liquid, caramelized sugar will cool quickly and form a thin, hard crust on top. TIP: Alternatively, place the ramekins under an oven broiler to caramelize the sugar. Frequently rotate the pan holding the ramekins for even exposure to the broiler’s heat. Watch carefully to avoid burning!
- Serve immediately for maximum crackle in the crust (vs. a softened crust which can happen over time). We like to serve our crème brûlée with demitasse spoons to savor each small bite.