Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

I love me some pumpkin this time of year. I usually buy canned pumpkin puree for my pumpkin recipes. There are some great ones out there. But since I brought home a pumpkin from the farm I decided I’d make my own. It was relatively easy and I found it to be superior to canned.

Simply cut off the stem of a medium pumpkin, cut it into quarters or eighths (depending on size of pumpkin) and scoop out seeds and fibers with a spoon. Place on a sheet tray, sprinkle with a half cup of water and bake at 350F for about an hour or until the flesh is soft and separates easily from the peel. Process with an immersion blender or in a food processor until pureed.

What better way to promote No Yolk Left Behind than with Crème Brûlée. And what better way to spice it up than with pumpkin. Combine cream, milk and spices and bring just below a boil in a saucepan. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes to infuse. Meanwhile whisk the yolks and sugar until pale yellow and thick. Add salt, pumpkin puree and vanilla extract. Gradually add the hot cream mixture in a slow and steady stream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Once the mixture is tempered and warm, add the rest of the cream quicker. Strain mixture and divide between 4, 8oz ramekins. Place in baking pan and fill with boiling water halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Take care not to get any water in the custards. Cover loosely with foil. Bake at 300F for about 30 minutes or until the custard is set along the edges but has a slight jiggle in the center. Remove from water bath and let cool at room temp for 15 minutes. Then cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Once cooled it’s time to brûlée! I like the taste of pecans with pumpkin flavored desserts so I put a layer of finely crushed pecans, about a teaspoon in each ramekin, under the layer of sugar. Because the pecans can burn before the sugar has caramelized be sure to completely cover the layer of pecans with sugar. You can omit the pecans if you prefer, it’s just as good without them. Sprinkle a teaspoon of turbinado or coarse sugar evenly in each ramekin to completely cover the surface. Brûlée with a kitchen torch or in the broiler set to high. Once brûléed allow to cool to room temperature or colder if you like. I prefer my Crème Brûlée on the cold side.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

yield: 4 servings
prep time: 45 mins plus 4 hours of cooling time


1 1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t each of allspice, ginger, nutmeg
5 yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 t vanilla extract
pinch of salt
6 T pumpkin puree
4 t turbinado sugar
4 t crushed pecans (optional)


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