Pumpkin Creme Brulee

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It’s wonderful to see so many people embracing seasonal foods and experimenting, trying new dishes.

Pumpkin, squash, gourds and all those funny looking autumn veggies that are currently out there have turned out to be quite versatile. I’ve seen soups, pastas, stews, fritters, dips, sauces and in my case today, a dessert.

I remember as a kid the only use we had for a pumpkin was to carve it for Halloween, toast the seeds for snacks and sometimes go through the trouble of carving out the meat of the pumpkin for a pie.

Soon, I will see lots of abandoned pumpkins on peoples’ boulevards, waiting to be picked up by the city’s garbage collection. The plight of the neglected pumpkin saddens me.

We must take action! On gargbage day, tell your neighbors to reclaim their pumpkin, to steam it, cook it, roast, freeze it…just don’t let that pumpkin go into composting Purgatory!

Enough of my tongue in cheek rant, on to the dessert. I’ve played around with this concept for a month now and I’ve finally achieved my desired result (tastewise).

I did the “brulee” using my oven’s broiler but there’s nothing like caramelizing your creme like a torch and there’s no fear of warming the custard.

Otherwise, I’m sticking to this recipe. It’s easy, it’s quick and if you wait for the scalding milk/cream mixture to cool as directed, you won’t get scrambled eggs.

The main inspiration for this dessert came from Gale Gand and her recipe was found at the Food Network. I tweaked the spices a bit, added some chopped pistachios and I trimmed the cream by replacing it with evaporated milk and the resulting custard was just fine.

I also strained the mixture before pouring it into the ramekins as I found some stringy pieces of pumpkin in previous attempts. Give this a go. It’s even easy enough to offer as a weeknight dessert.

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

1 1/2 cups of evaporated milk
1/2 heavy cream
1/8 tsp cinnamon
2 pinches of nutmeg
1 pinch of ginger
1/2 tsp of fennel seeds
2 cloves
2 Tbsp. chopped pistachios
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
1/4 cup pumpkin puree
coarse brown sugar for the “brulee”

Preheat the oven to 325F

  1. In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, cream, spices over medium heat, stirring occasionally, just until it comes to a boil. Take off the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together. Whisking constantly, gradually pour it in the hot milk/cream mixture. Whisk in the pumpkin puree.
  3. Pour the mixture through a strainer, pushing through the liquid with the bottom of a ladle. Discard any solids.
  4. Pour the mixture into 4 ramekins and arrange in a hot water bath. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-40 minutes until almost set (the middle should still jiggle).
  5. Remove from the water bath and let cool for 20 minutes. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
  6. When ready to serve, pour as much coarse sugar as will fit on the custard. Pour off the remaining sugar onto the next custard and repeat until you’ve coated each custard with coarse sugar.
  7. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and broil until the sugar has caramelized or use a kitchen torch to create your brulees. Let cool for 1 minute before serving.

© 2007,
Peter Minakis

. All rights reserved.

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6 Comments for “Pumpkin Creme Brulee”

JennDZ - The Leftover Queen


That looks so delicious Peter! I love pumpkin anything and creme brulee – oh yeah! This is a marriage made in custard heaven!



I have been contemplating making a pumpkin brulee for weeks now. There is pie pumpkin still untouched on my deck. It could be prepared many different ways.



Very interesting Peter. I have some pumpkin puree in my pantry and this would be a way to out it to good use.