Last week I promised to share the recipe for my favorite way to use pumpkin pie flavored sugar, which makes a great edible gift. I love creme brulee because it’s rich and creamy with a crisp top crust that shatters into lovely bits of caramelized sugary goodness. When I want a decadent dessert, it’s the first thing that comes to mind. Around the holidays, I get pumpkin pie at all sorts of gatherings, so at home I love to do a twist and make pumpkin pie creme brulee. It’s less work than an actual pie but just as satisfying.
Creme brulee is a contrast in textures that has two key components. The first is a custard, made with egg yolks, creme and sugar, with the option of additional ingredients. The second component is the top crust, sugar that’s melted and then allowed to harden. This crust appears to be a barrier between you and the silky custard below, but one satisfying whack with your spoon is all it takes to open up a world of velvety indulgence.
Professional chefs us a special torch to make the top crust, but those of us at home can get equally satisfying results with the use of the broiler setting on our oven. It just takes a watchful eye to make sure you don’t burn your crust (yes, voice of experience speaking!). The good news is, if you accidentally let it burn then once it hardens you can break it up, scoop it off and try again!
For the custard portion of the creme brulee, I have plenty of egg yolks in my fridge from making about 10 batches of frosting for this year’s gingerbread competition (voting open until December 26!). The yolks are gently tempered with the hot cream to ensure that they don’t curdle, a really depressing reaction that can’t be reversed. I walk you through the process in the recipe, but if you’re nervous, you can check out my post on how to temper eggs.
The recipe may look long, but don’t be scared away! I made another batch last night and had it in the oven in 5 minutes. Then another five minutes for the top crust after they’d cooled. My husband and one of our Chinese boys saw how easy it was and asked me to teach them next time!
Have you made creme brulee before? Any additional tips to share with readers who haven’t?
Pumpkin Pie Creme Brulee RecipePrep time: 10 minutes Cook time: 1 hour Total time: 3 hours 15 minutes (including 2 hour rest time) Yield: 4 servings
- 1 cup
heavy whipping cream
- 2 TBS
golden brown sugar
- 1/8 tsp
- 4 TBS
pumpkin pie spiced sugar, divided
- 1/2 cup
fresh or canned pumpkin puree
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix cream, brown sugar, vanilla extract and 2 TBS of the pumpkin pie spiced sugar in a saucepan. Heat on medium high until it begins to steam and has just started simmering (that means a small amount of movement on the surface but not starting to boil). Mix to make sure all the sugar is dissolved and remove pan from heat.
- In a medium sized bowl (I like to use one with a handle and spout for easy pouring), whisk the egg whites vigorously, then slowly pour in 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture, stirring continuously. Add the rest of the hot cream slowly, whisking until it’s all incorporated.
- Stir in the pumpkin puree.
- Place four individual serving ramekins (or small oven safe dishes) in a baking pan. Carefully pour the custard mix into the ramekins, then fill the pan with boiling or very hot water until it reaches half way up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake in the oven until just set but still a little jiggly, about 40-50 minutes. Remove from oven and refrigerate 2 hours.
- Divide remaining pumpkin pie spiced sugar among four creme brulees, sprinkling it evenly over the top. Return ramekins to the oven on broil (no water bath needed this time). Broil on the bottom rack for 2-5 minutes until sugar has melted, rotating the ramekins if necessary to prevent burning.
- Carefully remove from oven and let them sit 5-10 minutes until melted sugar has completely hardened.
Approximate cost/serving: Cream is pretty cheap right now because everyone’s buying it to make whipped cream. Eggs are always cheap! This came out to about $1.20 for four desserts so just 30 cents a serving!
Gluten Free: No substitutions needed.