Recipe: Pumpkin Crème brûlée | Ryan Joy (atxryan) Recipe: Pumpkin Crème brûlée | Web developer living and playing in Austin, Texas. Microsoft Developer Evangelist.
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Recipe: Pumpkin Crème brûlée

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November 22, 2007 by Ryan Joy

I absolutely love this time of year when everything comes out with a pumpkin-flavored variation. Pumpkin lattes, pumpkin gellato, pumkin pie blizzards from Dairy Queen, even pumpkin-stuffed tortellini.

Obviously, I love pumpkin. However, it’s not actually the pumpkin flavor that most of us enjoy, but the delicate blend of spices that come together to bring that flavor out. To that end, I modified a recipe I first used last year for Pumpkin Crème brûlée to include more spices. Enjoy!


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 pinches ginger
  • 2 pinches allspice
  • 4 cracked, whole cloves
  • 1 vanilla bean, split cut in 1/2 inch pieces
  • 8 egg yolks (note)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup coarse sugar or raw sugar
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
  2. In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse at least 15 minutes. Strain the infused liquid to remove the clove, vanilla, and large spice bits.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the granulated sugar. Whisking constantly, gradually pour in the hot cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  4. Pour the mixture into 8 ovenproof ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath where the water comes up near the level of the mixture. Bake in the center of the oven until almost set but still a bit soft in the center, 30 to 40 minutes. It should “shimmy” a bit when you shake the pan; it will firm up more as it cools. Remove from the water bath and let cool 15 minutes.
  5. Tightly cover each ramekin with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic does not touch the surface of the custard. Refrigerate at least 3 hours, and up to 24 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, fire up your kitchen torch to a low flame (not the piercing flame of high). Uncover the chilled custards. Pour as much coarse sugar as will fit onto the top of 1 of the custards. Pour off the remaining sugar onto the next custard. Repeat until all the custards are coated. Discard any remaining sugar. In a circular motion, carefully brown the sugar. Let cool 1 minute before serving.

Note: There exist a number of different techniques and even products for separating eggs. I think the most common is to crack the egg shell in two halves and carefully dump the egg back and forth to let the white drip down and yolk remain in the shell. This method works, but it’s very easy to pierce the yolk and mix it with the white, thereby ruining that egg. I prefer to crack around the egg near the top of the narrow half and pour the egg white out. Once it’s started to pour, gravity will pull the entire egg white out of the shell without much effort. The better separated your eggs, the better your meringues, custards, and soufflés.

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