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Dorothy Dean presents: Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

This creamy pumpkin custard is full of the warm flavors of fall and topped with a crisp, caramelized sugar layer that is such a delight to crack into. (Audrey Alfaro)
This creamy pumpkin custard is full of the warm flavors of fall and topped with a crisp, caramelized sugar layer that is such a delight to crack into. (Audrey Alfaro)

While I have my list of usual suspects for holiday meals, I’m always open to trying new recipes. Especially spins on classics, like this pumpkin crème brûlée.

This creamy pumpkin custard is full of the warm flavors of fall and topped with a crisp, caramelized sugar layer that is such a delight to crack into.

Your spoon shattering through the crisp sheet of sugar is a treat in itself. But it only gets better as it dives into the rich, luscious, pumpkin-y custard. The contrasting layers make this dessert simply divine.

If the fancy French name and elegance of this confection has you doubting your abilities, I assure you it’s as easy as pie – er, brûlée?

Four ingredients are whisked with seasonings and poured into ramekins. They’re baked in a water bath until just set – meaning the middles are still a bit jiggly – and cooled before receiving that signature sugar topping that’s torched to a crackable crust.

If you don’t have a torch, the broiler works fine. Just set your oven rack to the top position and broil with the oven door propped open until bubbly and golden, about 3-4 minutes.

It’s the perfect dessert for any party, as it can be made several days in advance. Also, the individual ramekins make serving an autumn breeze. And if you really want to get festive, bake and serve them in hollowed out mini pumpkins.

Not a fan of pumpkin? Try it with sweet potato or butternut squash puree instead.

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

Adapted from allrecipes.com

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 cup heavy cream

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 pinch salt

1/2 cup white sugar

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and brown sugar. Stir in heavy cream, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and salt.

Divide pumpkin mixture evenly among 6 (4-6 ounce) ramekins, about 1/2 inch from the top.

Place the ramekins in a baking dish and fill baking dish with enough hot water to reach halfway up the sides of ramekins.

Bake until custards are just set, about 30 to 35 minutes.

Remove ramekins and refrigerate until completely cool, at least 3 hours. (If making in advance, they can be kept refrigerated at this point for 2 days. Just keep them covered and chilled.)

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of sugar over each pumpkin creme brulee. Using a kitchen torch, melt the sugar to a deep amber, about 1 to 2 minutes. (Alternatively, you can broil them. After topping with sugar, place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet and melt directly under broiler until deep amber.) Refrigerate for about 15-20 minutes to allow sugar to harden. (This can be done up to an hour in advance.)


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