Thursday, October 30, 2008

Pumpkin Creme Brulee

My beauties out of the oven!

With Halloween just a couple of days away and Thanksgiving just around the corner, it seems that all I can think about these days is pumpkin! Pumpkin bread, pumpkin soup, pumpkin ice cream is being sold in grocery stores, shops, and restaurants alike. Pumpkin bread is definitely my go-to "pumpkin" goodie, but I wanted to try something a little different.

I was flipping through the October issue of Bon Apetit magazine, and landed upon a recipe for pumpkin creme brulee. I had never tried my hand at creme brulee before. I usually think of it as a dessert one would order at an upscale restaurant, not the sort of thing for the home cook. This recipe sure looked good, so I decided to give it a try.

Sitting in a waterbath in the oven.

Luckily, a couple of weeks ago I had been strolling through the baking aisle in Harris Teeter when I noticed the bargain of a lifetime was right in front of me. A creme brulee set (4 ramekins and 1 butane torch) was being sold for $11.99! I thought to myself, even if the torch is total crap, at least I will be investing in some ramekins.

Mmm pumpkiny goodness.

With creme brulee set in one hand and a pumpkin recipe in the other, I set to work. The recipe was rather easy to follow. I simply mixed together sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and spices and added them to heated whipping cream. I poured the mixture into ramekins (I used four 3" and two 5") and placed them in a heavy pan, filling it with water until it came half way up the ramekins. I put the pan in the oven at 350 to bake for 35 minutes.

These little ramekins of pumpkin creme smelled delicious out of the oven. I let them sit in the fridge over night. I took them out the following evening after they had time to set. I opened up my torch to prepare to brulee them. Unfortunately, my torch did not come with any gas (no wonder this set was so cheap). :(

My mom putting them under the broiler. Don't try this at home kids! She's a professional!
I decided to use the broiler instead. After 30 seconds under the heat, the sugar began to boil and harden up. The sugar didnt have that crisp consistency that you would find at most restaurants (I chalk that up to a lack of a torch). The pumpkin creme was delicious, but not exactly the creamy eggy consistency I am used to. It tasted more like a pumpkin pie filling straight out of the oven. I altered the amounts, but kept the same rations, so I don't think that would affect the consistency. I am also wondering if I needed to cook these a little longer. I probably took them out of the oven 5 minutes before I was supposed to for fear that I would overcook them.

I am set on testing out another creme brulee recipe. Next time I will look into getting a butane cartridge for my torch.

All in all 1.5 out of 3 JAMs

The recipe follows:

Pumpkin and Brown-Sugar Crème Brûlée

Bon Appétit November 2008
by Sarah Patterson Scott

Makes 8 servings

1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin (JAM Note: I used 9 oz)

1/2 cup sugar (JAM Note: 1/3 c.)
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar (JAM Note: 1/3 c.)
5 large egg yolks (JAM Note: 3 eggs)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (JAM Note: 6/5 tsp.)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (JAM Note: 3/5 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (JAM Note: 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (JAM Note: 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves (JAM Note: 1/8 tsp.)
1/4 teaspoon salt (JAM Note: 1/8 tsp.)
3 cups heavy whipping cream (JAM Note: 9/5 c.)
8 tablespoons raw sugar or golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 325°F. Whisk pumpkin, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/2 cup brown sugar in large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks and vanilla, then spices and salt. Bring cream just to boil in medium saucepan. Gradually whisk hot cream into pumpkin mixture.

Divide mixture among eight 5x1-inch ramekins. Divide ramekins between 2 large roasting pans. Add enough hot water to pans to come halfway up sides of ramekins. Bake until custards are just set in center, about 35 minutes. Chill custards until cold, about 6 hours. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Cover and keep chilled.

Sprinkle 1 tablespoon raw sugar over pumpkin custard in each ramekin. Using kitchen torch, melt sugar until deep amber. (Alternatively, use broiler. Place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet. Sprinkle tops with brown sugar [not raw sugar] and melt directly under broiler until deep amber.) Refrigerate 15 minutes to allow sugar to harden. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 hour ahead. Keep chilled.


Malia said...

They look beautiful and yummy. I want some pumpkin pie now!

Anonymous said...

The creme brulee was delicious, but I do agree that perhaps it should have been baked longer. Can't wait to try the torch out when it is full of fuel. Burn, creme brulee, burn! (Doesn't it sound ridiculous, my friends, when middle-aged people try to sound like Huey Newton!)