Introduction: Pumpkin Creme Brulee

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I never thought I would meet a dessert I enjoyed more than creme brulee - until I met pumpkin creme brulee. Baked and served in mini pumpkins, this treat is as adorable as it is delicious! Surprisingly easy to whip up, this dessert will be a sure knock-out at your next dinner or party.

I started with a recipe from the New York Times, but was frustrated at the measurements. It left me with one egg, half a container of cream, and half a can of pumpkin left to use up. So I increased the recipe to accommodate my desire to have no left over ingredients going to rot in my fridge before I could figure out what to do with them. It makes a lot of dessert, but I could easily eat two in one sitting, so I trust you will have no trouble devouring the results!

Step 1: Ingredients

adapted from NY Times Magazine:

10-12 mini decorative pumpkins - I tried an assembly of decorative gourds, but found them too difficult to carve into
1/4 cup (62g) sugar, plus 3/4 cup (188g) = 1 cup (250g) total
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or another 1/2 of cinnamon)
6 egg yolks
2 cups (1 pint / 475ml) heavy cream
1 cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean, split
1 14oz can (~1 3/4 cups / 415ml) pumpkin puree

Step 2: Pumpkin Prep

You can certainly use ramekins instead of tiny pumpkins for this and bake them in a water bath. It will still be delicious! Either way, preheat your oven to 350F (175C).

Cut the tops off of your pumpkins. Be super careful with this step, as I attempted to cut my finger off at the same time. I don't recommend it. Anyway, keep the tops for presentation later!

Scoop out the insides of the pumpkins, leaving about a 1/2" wall around the sides.

Mix together 1/4 cup of sugar with spices (cinnamon and/or nutmeg) and sprinkle inside the pumpkins. I like to treat this like I'm flouring a cake pan - dump it in, swirl it around, dump the excess out.

Wrap each pumpkin individually in foil (leaving the tops off) and bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes.

Step 3: The Creme

In a saucepan, heat up the cream, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean. Bring to a simmer.

In a heatproof bowl, whisk together 3/4 cup of sugar and egg yolks.

Pour the cream mixture into the egg mixture through a fine-mesh sieve and whisk together.

Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to combine.

Step 4: Combine

Remove the pumpkins from their foil and load up with with the cream mixture. It's not going to rise or anything, so fill them to their brims!

Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-40 minutes. Mine took 30 to get to the point where they were set on the edges but still jiggly in the middle. If they are still liquid when you first check them, let them bake longer.

Cool at room temperature.

Step 5: Brulee

Now for the fun.

Sprinkle an even layer of sugar on top of the pumpkins. AND TORCH THEM!!!!!

If you didn't recently get an awesome kitchen torch as a wedding present (thanks again Angie!) or a prize in the Scoochmaroo Fire Challenge, then you can use your broiler.

Serve warm or at room temp - both are good - with the pumpkin caps displayed on the side for added cuteness.


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