Pumpkin season, also known as Fall, is my favorite time of year. I know I can technically make pumpkin pie any time I want, but there is just something about this time of year that makes it taste better! Maybe it’s the smell of fires crackling, or the site of the leaves changing… oh wait, that stuff doesn’t really happen in Phoenix! Whatever it is, Fall is the perfect time to enjoy something pumpkin! This pumpkin crème brulee is one special dish that I might even carry over into the rest of the year. Luckily for me, Chef J is right around the corner and I can usually bribe him for treats (although I made the ones in the photo – I clearly need more practice!). Since he can’t come to your house, you’ll have to settle for learning how to make it yourself. Teach us how, Chef J!
Besides the drop in temperature, you can always tell when Fall is officially upon us by the abundance of pumpkin pie flavored coffee drinks. These ubiquitous pumpkin lattes are flavored by the signature spice blend that makes the traditional holiday pie such a hit: allspice, clove, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger. Rarely is there anything close to pumpkin (or any squash, for that matter) in those over-priced morning mugs, but they are delicious.
A pumpkin is just a squash. Sometimes it just happens to get a face carved into it… As a squash, it can be used in place of the beloved butternut in most any recipe. Try roasting it with garlic, sage, and butter. Puree it and use it in that ravioli recipe you have always wanted to try. Toast and salt the seeds and throw them in a salad or just eat them by the handful! There are lots of ways to enjoy this awesome orange veggie (it’s actually a fruit!), but my favorite is always dessert. Pumpkin pie is a classic for a reason, but someone else can make that. I like to go a slightly different route with crème brulee! Just make sure if you’re using fresh pumpkin, you buy the kind meant for cooking, not the kind meant for jack-o-lanterns!
If you have a butane kitchen torch, this is when you get to show it off. If you don’t have one, this is the perfect excuse to get one! You can also burn the sugar under the broiler – just keep a close eye on it.
Pumpkin Crème Brulee
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 cup sugar
- 16 oz. heavy cream
- 8 oz. pumpkin puree
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp water or cream
- 1 TBS vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- Sugar for burning
Heat oven to 350°F.
Bring cream, pumpkin and spices to a simmer.
Whisk together the egg yolks, 1 cup sugar, vanilla, corn starch slurry, and pinch of salt until pale yellow and frothy.
Slowly add a few spoonfuls of the hot cream to the egg mixture while whisking constantly.
When the egg mixture is hot, pour it into the cream and bring it up to a simmer, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken.
Pour the mixture through a strainer to remove any pulp or cooked egg bits. Fill ramekins with custard and bake in a water bath until just set, about 25 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. These can be served while a little warm, or chilled for a few hours for a thicker dessert.
Top each custard with sugar and burn with torch (or under the broiler) until bubbly and brown. Do this step just before serving to ensure a crisp sugar shell!
Printer friendly recipe: Pumpkin Crème Brulee