I know most pumpkin pie traditionalists will not join me in this, but isn’t this a fun alternative to pumpkin pie? And guess what! Crème brûlée is easier to make than Rice Krispy treats. Okay, maybe it’s not that easy. But if you’ve never made it, you’ll be surprised at what a cinch it is.
Every Thursday, when my husband is around to watch the kids, I go to a writing group at the local bookstore. It’s fun, but lately I haven’t been thrilled with what I’ve been writing there. I didn’t really want to go yesterday, but I had promised Connie (a frequent sophistimom commentator) that I would bring in my pumpkin crème brûlée sometime. Last night was as good a time as ever, so I made this up and shared it with everyone. It was a hit. As for my writing—I’ll keep working on it.
pumpkin crème brûlée
1 1/4 cup (285g) heavy cream
3/4 cup (170g) milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated or superfine sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup (245g) pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees (150 degrees Celsius). In a medium saucepan, set over medium heat, bring cream, milk, spices, and vanilla to almost boiling. Reduce heat to very low.
2. In a tea kettle or medium saucepan, start heating about a quart of water to boil.
3. In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip egg yolks, 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and brown sugar until thick and light yellow.
4. With mixer on low speed, slowly pour a cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture. Mix until well incorporated, then add back into the cream mixture. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Stir in pumpkin puree.
5. Place a strainer over a large bowl and strain mixture. Use a wooden spoon to press it through.
6. Pour custard into a 9″ ceramic dish. Place dish into a roasting pan lined with a kitchen towel. Place in oven, and carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan until it comes about halfway up the sides of the baking dish. Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until the custard looks almost set. There will be some movement when you jiggle the pan, but it should not be liquid in the middle.
7. Remove from oven, and allow to cool in the roasting pan for 30 minutes. Remove custard from the roasting pan, and let cool completely on a cooling rack. Refrigerate until well-chilled, about 2-3 hours,
8. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of superfine sugar evenly over the surface of the custard. Using a kitchen torch, or a propane blow torch from the hardware store, carefully melt the sugar until it caramelizes and hardens onto candy. Refrigerate for thirty minutes more. Serve.