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Pumpkin Crème Brûlée by Tim

Pumpkin Crème Brûlée by Tim

I developed this recipe for a special Thanksgiving meal. My goal was to replicate the silky custard texture of classic Crème Brûlée

Every recipe I found called for pumpkin puree to be added to the custard ingredients.  In every case, the texture was exactly like a pumpkin pie.  It was time to get creative.

I tried infusing cream with pumpkin.  I tried juicing a pumpkin by grating and straining.  I then went shopping at a local kitchen equipment shop called Goodwill and voila; a perfectly decent well used juicer for $4.00.  Yes, it separates the pumpkin pulp from the juice.  It is not as efficient as a Breville, but I love the lifetime guarantee savings.

The next step is to find a good tasting variety of pumpkin.  The pumpkin capitol of the world is Morton, Illinois, a few miles south of Peoria.  My favorite local grocery store had over 20 varieties of pumpkin and squash.  The best included Fairytale, Peanut and Cinderella.  You can find them at a good farmer’s market.

After juicing the strained juice may be brought to a boil in a heavy saucepan for reduction to one/third of the original volume.  You will want the boiling point to approximate 120°F; the juice will approximate the sweetness of maple syrup and be perfect for making custard.  Any consideration of making pumpkin s - - - - is expressly verboten!

Pumpkin syrup is perfect other custard desserts like flan, crème caramel, panna cotta and ice cream.  It may also be used like maple syrup for pancakes.

        Ingredients: 6 to 7 cups

                   Heavy Cream     4 cups  Divided

Toasted Sugar    3/8 cup

Sea salt               pinch

Pumpkin syrup    2/3 cup or to taste

Egg yolks            12 large


For the Brûlée:

                             Piloncillo or

                             Toasted sugar    3 to 4 Tbsps.




        1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.


        2. Combine 2 cups cream, sugar, & salt in saucepan.  Scrape vanilla bean seeds into pan & bring mixture just to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Take                pan off heat (Mix in Pumpkin Juice) & let steep 15 minutes.


        3. Place kitchen towel in large baking dish & arrange eight 4- to 5-ounce ramekins (or shallow fluted dishes) on towel. Bring kettle of water to boil over high heat.


        4. Stir in remaining 2 cups cream to cool mixture. Whisk yolks in large bowl until broken up & combined. Whisk 1 cup cream mixture into yolks until loosened & combined;             repeat with another 1 cup cream.

            Add remaining cream and vanilla extract & whisk until evenly colored & combined. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into 2-quart measuring cup or pitcher.  Pour mixture             into ramekins.


        5. Place baking dish with ramekins on oven rack; carefully pour boiling water into pan until water is two-thirds height of ramekins. Bake until custards are just barely set                 (digital instant thermometer should register 170°F), 30 to 35 minutes. Begin checking temperature about 5 minutes before recommended time.


        6. Transfer ramekins to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Set ramekins on rimmed baking sheet, cover tightly with plastic wrap, & refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours             or up to 4 days.


        7. Uncover ramekins; if condensation has collected on custards, place paper towel on surface to soak up moisture. Sprinkle each with about 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar                (1 1/2 teaspoons for shallow fluted dishes); tilt and tap ramekin for even coverage. Ignite torch and caramelize sugar. Refrigerate ramekins, uncovered, to re-chill, 30 to             45 minutes (but no longer); serve.