Before anyone throws any tomatoes at me for contributing another pumpkin recipe to the internet, I have to tell you that this pumpkin crème brûlée recipe is totally worth the addition. To be fair, I didn’t know pumpkin crème brûlée recipes like this were even a thing until my cousin shared one with me during Thanksgiving, so I thought maybe a couple of you may not have thought of the idea as well.
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
This pumpkin crème brûlée had been my cousin’s contribution to the dessert spread during Thanksgiving pre-pandemic, and after trying it, I was immediately in love.
I normally don’t make too many variations of crème brûlée as I don’t like tampering with foods that are perfectly scrumptious just as they are, especially French desserts. You guys should know that the French are not a fan of American variations on their classic desserts, but I would argue that they’d probably enjoy this pumpkin twist.
In fact, as a side note, I made my pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting for a friend’s baby shower last fall while I was living in Paris, and the French guests when absolutely nuts over it. They were asking for third helpings and whether I could send them my recipe.
All this to say that while recipes like this pumpkin crème brûlée or my summer variation of lavender crème brûlée may not spark immediate fanfare from the French, I think they’d eventually come around.
And in all honesty, I’m usually very resistant to adding trendy ingredients like lavender or candied rose petals to desserts, because more often than not, I find them excessive and sometimes even overpowering.
In the case of this pumpkin crème brûlée (as well as my lavender variation too), the flavor is subtle and only makes the crème brûlée even more tantalizing and appropriate for the season.
Pumpkin has a naturally sweet flavor, which is great for desserts like this, and adding some of those fall spices helps contribute those PSL flavors so that this is like a pumpkin spice crème brûlée that you didn’t know you needed but now can’t live without.
This pumpkin crème brûlée is also not only sweet and slightly spiced, but it’s just as silky smooth as ever.
It’s also a dreamy alternative for those who dislike pie or have just had one too many slices. If you’re thinking, who doesn’t like pie? Well, I hate to burst your bubble but there are a lot of people who don’t like pie. I’m not one of them, but I recognize that they exist and Thanksgiving dessert can often be disappointing for them.
So if you’re one of those people, make this alternative pumpkin pie crème brûlée and others may not even realize you’re not making an actual pie until you serve them. And by that point, they won’t care because this dessert is that good!
It’s also incredibly easy to make, much easier than you’d ever think.
I find that when I tell people I make pumpkin crème brûlée at home, they’re shocked that I can make such a “fancy” dessert. But crème brûlée, in general, is simply just fancy in name.
The truth is it’s even easier to make than pie or most cakes. You don’t even need a kitchen torch to create the burnt sugar topping. Just set those ramekins under the broiler as I’ve done here and 30 seconds later, you’ll have a beautiful crunchy topping to break into with your spoon!
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pumpkin purée
- 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- granulated sugar, for the top
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. Bring a pot or kettle of water to a boil.
- In a small saucepan, warm the heavy cream over medium low heat until it’s scalding hot, but not boiling. The edges will begin to simmer and the cream will get steamy. Stir occasionally.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla together until it’s pale in color (it should look light orange). Tip: use an electric mixer or stand mixer if you have one so that it does the work for you - use high speed.
- Slowly stream the hot cream into the mixture, whisking the mixture as you do. This will help temper the eggs. Give the batter a stir with your ladle to break up some of the foamy bubbles, then then distribute the batter among 6 oz. ramekins.
- Place the ramekins in a large and deep casserole dish. If you’ve use a pot to boil your water, use a ladle to scoop the boiling water into the casserole dish; otherwise, simply use the kettle’s spout to pour the boiling water into the dish. Pour enough water into the casserole dish to reach about 2/3 high up the sides of the ramekins. Be careful not to get any water into the actual ramekins.
- Bake the crème brûlée for about 50 to 55 minutes, or until they’re set on the edges and only have a slight wobble in the center. Let the ramekins hang out in the water bath outside of the oven until they're just warm and no longer hot. Empty the water from the casserole dish then cover all the creme brulee with plastic wrap and let them chill in the refrigerator for about 6 hours, or overnight.
- Before serving, sprinkle half a tablespoon of granulated sugar over the top of each one, before using a kitchen torch to burn the sugar on top. If you don’t have a kitchen torch, you can place the ramekins on a pan and set the pan under your oven’s broiler for until the same burnt sugar effect is achieved. Keep your eyes on them so they don’t burn too much; the sugar will burn and crisp up very quickly!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 6 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 430