Pumpkin, cinnamon, ginger. Those three words conjure up feelings of warmth, festivities and deliciousness. Take those three ingredients and make a crème brûlée with them — and you’ll have a dessert that’s just plain sublime!
Even before the first bite, the sound of the crust cracking with the back of the spoon instantly makes the mouth water in anticipation of the contrast between the crunchy-sweet caramel and the silky-smooth custard. Then each spoonful is pure heaven, best eaten as unhurriedly as one can.
I find crème brûlée to be a perfect dinner party dessert, and I have many different versions for every season of the year. But during the holidays, making them with freshly baked sugar pumpkins is an extraordinary treat. The creaminess of the pumpkin purée only accentuates the inherent smoothness of the custard. The ginger and cinnamon tantalize the taste buds and linger beautifully until you cannot resist and must take another bite.
Simple, elegant and totally scrumptious, this pumpkin crème brûlée is sure to make your holiday dinner party a memorable one.
Pumpkin crème brûlée with fresh ginger and cinnamon
active time: 30 min
- 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh ginger root (use a microplane grater)
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1/3 cup organic sugar
- pinch sea salt
- 3 tablespoons organic sugar for the caramelized crust
- 6 half-cup-capacity ramequins
- Preheat oven to 300°F (150ºC).
- Step 1: Place the pumpkin purée, ginger and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Whisk until well blended. Set aside.
- Step 2: Heat the cream and milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. When the liquid has reached boiling point remove from heat and set aside.
- Step 3: In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the egg yolks, sugar and salt at high speed, until the mixture is very pale and ribbony, about 2 minutes. Reduce to low speed and slowly whisk the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture. Add the pumpkin purée and whisk until well blended. Skim all air bubbles with a mesh spatula.
- Step 4: Pour the custard into the molds, filling them 1/4” from rim. Place the ramequins in a large baking pan and pour enough hot water in the pan to reach about 1/2″ up the side of the ramequins. Cover pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. The custards should be barely set and slightly jiggle when gently shaken. Remove the custards from the water bath and let cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the custards for at least 6 hours or up to 2 days. When ready to serve, sprinkle the custards with the sugar. Hold a lit kitchen torch 4 to 6 inches from the sugar topping and move the flame evenly over the surface until a caramel crust forms. Let the custards cool for a few minutes before serving.
- Cook’s note: The caramel topping can be made up to 4 hours ahead and the crème brûlée can be refrigerated again until ready to serve. If left in the refrigerator longer though, the caramel topping will start to soften and will lose its crunch.
- Contrary to what many people believe, crème brûlée is not hard to make. The custard base is simple to prepare; all you’ll need is to keep an eye on them so they don’t overbake. Crème brûlée can be prepared up to two days ahead — a huge plus when planning a holiday party. I also highly recommend buying a kitchen torch. It’ll make the job infinitely easier and will yield perfect results.