Pumpkin Creme Brulee Recipe
Pumpkin spice creme brûlée is the perfect holiday dessert. It may seem intimidating, but making creme brûlée couldn’t be easier. It’s a dessert I like to always have in my back pocket that feels impressive with little effort. It’s perfect for the holidays because you can make the custards up to 3 days ahead of time and just brûlée them to serve!
How to Make Pumpkin Spice Creme Brûlée
Follow these instructions and you’ll be serving the perfect pumpkin creme brûlée in no time.
Ingredients you’ll need
- Heavy Cream. Heavy cream is the base for pumpkin creme brûlée and yields a rich custard.
- Spices. The heavy cream is infused with a cinnamon stick, freshly grated nutmeg, ground cloves, and a fresh vanilla bean.
- Egg yolks. Egg yolks set the custard and add richness. Be sure to completely separate them from the whites.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar sweetens the custard and creates the bruleed crust on top.
- Pumpkin puree. A bit of pumpkin puree is stirred into the custard. Be sure to use pumpkin puree and not pumpkin pie filling.
Making the bruleed top
To brulee the top of pumpkin creme brulee, you really need a kitchen torch. There are a lot of websites out there saying that you can put the creme brulee under the broiler. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT DO THIS. The extreme heat of the broiler will curdle the set custard before it ever brulees the top of the custard. Sprinkle the top with sugar and with the blowtorch on medium-low heat, slowly apply heat to the top until the sugar starts to melt. Rotate the custard until the whole top is a deep amber-brown color. Let the sugar cool for 5 minutes and then dig in.
Making caramelized sugar without a blow torch
In a small stainless steel saucepan, combine 1 tablespoon of butter with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar starts to liquify. Once the sugar is totally melted and dark amber in color, quickly pour some of the molten sugar on top of the custards and rotate so that the sugar covers the top completely. Be careful as molten sugar causes an awful burn to the skin. Cool for 5 minutes before breaking the top. To clean the saucepan, fill with hot water and simmer until the sugar has lifted from the sides.
Doubling this recipe
You can very easily double the recipe for pumpkin spice creme brulee! You may have to bake in a larger roasting pan or in two separate batches. Alternately, you can use smaller volume ramekins to make more portions, just adjust the baking time accordingly. I would start checking at 20 minutes if using a smaller ramekin.
Pumpkin Creme Brulee Success Tips
- Don’t let your cream scald. The point of warming the cream is really to infuse the flavors. Let the cream steep over very low heat, but keep an eye on it because the cream will easily boil over even on low heat. If your cream boils over and scalds, start over.
- Temper your egg yolks. All you’re doing is slowly raising the temperature of the egg yolks so they don’t scramble. *Slowly* pour the warm cream into the egg yolks and sugar while whisking. That’s it!
- Strain your custard. Straining your custard through a fine-mesh strainer before pouring them into ramekins ensures a smooth custard. You’ll remove any accidental bits of the cooked egg.
- Use shallow ramekins. The key to silky creme brulee custard is to use shallow ramekins. If you use a deeper ramekin, the edges will overcook while the inside is still uncooked. Using shallow ramekins allows the custard to cook evenly.
- Be careful when pouring your water. Don’t get any water in the custard or it’ll curdle.
- Don’t overbake. It really takes practice to know when they’re done. It also depends on the size of your ramekins and how warm the cream mixture is when you whisk it into the egg mixture. If you tap the ramekin the edges will be set, but the middle should be jiggly.
Other Pumpkin Recipes to Try
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Pumpkin Creme Brulee Recipe
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 vanilla bean scraped of seeds
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar plus more for sprinkling
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Boiling water
- In a small non-reactive saucepan, combine the cream with the maple syrup, vanilla bean, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and cloves. Bring to a very gentle simmer over low heat and turn the heat off. Infuse for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, discard the vanilla bean pod and the cinnamon stick.
- Preheat an oven to 300 degrees F. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and very pale in color. Whisk in the pumpkin puree and salt.
- Slowly pour the warm cream mixture into the egg yolks and sugar, whisking constantly. Once all the cream has been whisked in, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a large measuring cup.
- Set the 4 ramekins into a larger 9x13 baking dish. Evenly divide the custard between the ramekins. Open the oven and pull the oven rack out. Gently place the baking dish with the ramekins on the rack. Pour the boiling water into the baking dish, about halfway up the ramekins. Take care to not get any water in the custard as this will cause the custard to curdle. Gently slide the oven rack back into the oven and close the door.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes until the edges of the custard are set but the middle still jiggles like jello. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the larger dish and transfer them to a cooling rack. Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate uncovered for at least 2 hours.
- Before serving, sprinkle the top of each custard with about 2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar. The top should be evenly coated. Using a kitchen torch, apply heat to the sugar until it starts to melt and is amber in color. Rotate the custard and melt the sugar evenly across the top. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.