Pumpkin Crème Brûlée

March 19, 2008 · 23 comments · Print This Post

in Baked Goods, Desserts, Eggs, Holidays / Entertaining

Spoon at the Ready

Like many of you, my Crème Brûlée obsession stems from the movie Amelie. Who can forget that gorgeous scene where Audrey Tautou’s character cracks the caramelized top of her dessert while declaring it one of life’s simple pleasures? To that end, if there is Crème Brûlée to be found on a menu I always order it.

Last weekend I decided to try my hand at this decadent dessert, but instead of making the traditional custard I opted to use the lonely can of pumpkin filling that has been sitting in my kitchen cupboard since Thanksgiving. After all, canned pumpkin needs a home (in my belly) too. That one can of pie filling yielded another tasty treat as well, but more on that later this week.

Since I can’t be trusted in the presence of 8 dishes of fabulous dessert I cut the recipe in half and also substituted light cream for heavy cream. This brought the calorie count down to 210 per pretty pastel ramekin. Sadly I didn’t actually get to use my kitchen torch as it was out of fuel. I had to use the boring old broiler method instead. Boy was that an anxiety producing activity! Chris and I stood in front of the roaring hot stove like expectant parents watching the tops bubble, while I kept saying over and over again, “They’re going to burn! They’re going to burn!” Good times…

Only 210 Calories
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée (Based on the recipe originally published by Emeril Lagasse)
Makes 4 half cup desserts

1 cup light cream
1/8 cup light brown sugar
1/8 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
4 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 cup mashed cooked pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Arrange 4 (1/2-cup) ramekins or custard cups in a large metal baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar, and 1/8 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add half of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Divide among the prepared custard cups.

Add enough hot water to come halfway up the sides of the cups. Bake until the custards are just set in the center but not stiff, 45 minutes to 55 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or overnight.

Sprinkle each custard with 1/2 teaspoon of the remaining sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. (Alternately, preheat the broiler, and broil until the sugar melts and caramelizes, watching closely to avoid burning and rotating the cups, about 1 to 2 minutes.) Place on small dessert plates and serve.

Le Fabuleux Destin d'Erin Cooks

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Nicole March 19, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Creme Brulee is my favorite dessert! I actually just finished off a container of Ben and Jerry’s creme brulee ice cream last night. Have you tried it?


2 anna March 19, 2008 at 7:10 pm

Ooh la la!


3 Erin March 19, 2008 at 7:31 pm

Very spiffy! Where’s the shot of the kitchen torch in use?!


4 Cze-Johnson Carrie March 19, 2008 at 8:37 pm

KILLING ME, woman!!

looks and sounds amazing… though I’m not one to have pumpkin after january. it’s like my white pants/shoes of the belly, I guess.

I’ll have to give this a shot come september. yum!


5 White On Rice Couple March 20, 2008 at 3:28 am

How delicious for a creme brulee! It’s never too late for a reminder of autumn flavors. We actually just threw away 5 pumpkins left over from Halloween 2007. Yes, believe it or no, they lasted that long!
We love making lime creme brulee. 🙂


6 Nix March 20, 2008 at 6:36 am

Oh, it’s beautiful and I bet the pumpkin made it perfect.


7 Curt March 20, 2008 at 8:27 am

I wouldn’t have thought of using pumpkin… I’ve done banana in the bottom of the dish, with the custart on top of that, and liked it quite a bit.

The pastel ramekins are perfect for Easter.


8 Elle March 20, 2008 at 8:31 am

I love anything pumpkin, so these would be right at home here. What a great idea! And I can’t wait to hear about your other pumpkin snack…


9 geeky March 20, 2008 at 10:05 am

Oh great, now you have me craving creme brulee! It’s one of my favorite desserts. I made pumpkin creme brulee for Thanksgiving 2 years ago. It was a great substitute for pumpkin pie!


10 Rachel March 20, 2008 at 10:44 am

I can’t believe you made a “light” version of creme brulee! Genius!

Don’t you love using the kitchen blow torch? I splurged on one last year and only used it once (also on a brulee) and it was so much fun 🙂


11 Deborah March 20, 2008 at 2:15 pm

Now i am really craving creme brulee!


12 Lys March 20, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Erin – the styling is IMPECCABLE! And you have the Carribean LCs – I’m so jealous 🙂 You know I’m a pumpkin freak so anything like that makes me want to get cooking. I have never used my torch but let me tell you I was tempted to use it this morning when I stumbled over it looking for a defense weapon in my kitchen *LOL*

I think it would be better if I used it for Creme Brulee instead.


13 Anna K March 21, 2008 at 10:44 am

Um I love pumpkin anything and custard…sigh, its just too beautiful.


14 michelle @ TNS March 21, 2008 at 11:49 am

this reminds me how much i’d like to get a kitchen torch. also, how much i’d like to be eating creme brulee.


15 megan March 22, 2008 at 9:53 am

I love pumpkin and I love those cute ramekins. I got a torch for Christmas, but I haven’t used it yet. A low(er)
calorie creme brulee with pumpkin? An excuse to use my torch? 🙂 I’ll even give up the cheap chocolate that is always around on Easter Day!!! I said cheap, right?


16 FlaNBoyant Eats March 23, 2008 at 8:38 pm

oh my goodness… why do people do this to me???!?!? all this pumpkin! I love pumpkin anything… and the ramkins make them look even better. I need to get a torch–seen one at LNT but just haven’t been to pressed to get it…



17 Ashley March 24, 2008 at 12:24 pm

I love your ramekins and that square baking dish! Great idea for the creme brulee and good to know you can easily use light cream.


18 Erin March 24, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Oh, that looks to die for! Mmm…


19 Amy March 26, 2008 at 8:22 pm

I love creme brule and pumpkin – I will definatley have to give this one a try. But low fat – how can it be?


20 Lynn May 9, 2008 at 1:15 pm

Where can I find the awesome ramekins?


21 Lynn May 9, 2008 at 1:18 pm

I wanted to order some similar ones from King Arthur once, but I was too late.

Sure wish I could find them somewhere again!!


22 Joe October 6, 2008 at 1:12 am

Looks awesome. I love pumpkin. We are all about the pumpkin at our restaurant right now!!


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