Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

I love the holiday season, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. All those sweets and traditional foods, yet there are times when a tradition calls for an update. About four years ago my husband swapped out old traditional Stove Top Stuffing that I grew up with for a Ciabatta, Chestnut, Prosciutto, stuffing, and needless to say we have never gone back. I mean seriously, high quality, super flavor ingredients for a box of shriveled up pieces of what is supposedly bread? There is no comparison.

This year’s swap came in the dessert department. Every year we have to have Apple Pie for my daughter. For some reason it's not Thanksgiving without Apple Pie for her, I don't really think Apple Pie screams Thanksgiving for many people (not to me at least aside from her association) but what does say Thanksgiving dessert to many, many people is Pumpkin Pie.

When I was younger I was always a Pumpkin Pie for Thanksgiving dessert girl.  Now that I am older and can (and do) make Pumpkin Pie in the fall it feels kind of like a repeat at Thanksgiving. I know I could just not make it in October but really, I have no will power.

Enter the new Thanksgiving dessert.... ta da da daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.... Pumpkin Crème Brulee. Yum! I really didn't make any changes to the recipe, and I have no idea what size my crème brulee cups are, but this did not come close to making 8 of any size, so I've adjusted the serving to six, but honestly I think it might be more like 4. I tried to make 8 and they came out very thin, too thin. Next time I will fill them twice as full and just make the four.  Note to readers... my 18 month old literally licked his plate on this one.

Pumpkin Crème Brulee
Adapted from Emeril


2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
8 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 cup mashed cooked pumpkin


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Arrange 4 (6, or even 8 if you know how big your cups are) (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar, and 1/4 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add 3/4 cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the prepared custard cups.

Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 45 minutes to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Alternately, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.) Place on small dessert plates and serve.

Yield: 6 servings

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