Pumpkin Creme Brulee

Step aside ubiquitous thanksgiving pie, pumpkin creme brulee is about to steal the show. This dessert takes the best part of pumpkin pie – the warmly spiced, creamy pumpkin filling – and makes it better. Enriched with heavy cream and lots of eggs, the custard is velvety smooth and luscious – while still lighter than traditional creme brulee, because it’s half pumpkin (vs. all whipping cream). The shattering brulee topping offers a nice textural counterpoint to the creaminess, without the heaviness of a pastry crust.

The best part? You stir everything together in a bowl, pour it into ramekins and you’re practically done. About five minutes of preparation time for a decadent dessert that is sure to impress.

Don’t be intimidated by the brulee-ing. I invested in a little kitchen torch (like this one) but you can just as easily caramelize the sugar under a preheated broiler. It heats less evenly than the torch, so you’ll want to move the ramekins around during the process, but it works.

When it comes to the best part of creme brulees – that delicate caramel layer on top – this is one situation where more is not better. Don’t be tempted to over-sugar the tops; you won’t get the same crisp effect.

Also, be sure to let your custards cool completely before brulee-ing, and don’t torch them too soon before you serve (about 30 minutes max) – the topping will go soft.

In the photos you will notice that I used raw sugar for the topping – I don’t recommend it. It took too long to melt and caramelize; granulated is better.


  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (if using canned, use 100% pure – not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 8 tsp granulated sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Set a kettle full of water to boil.

  2. In a medium saucepan, heat whipping cream until it starts to simmer. Whisk together remaining ingredients in large bowl. Slowly whisk in hot cream.

  3. Divide mixture among eight 3/4-cup ramekins. Place ramekins in baking dishes with 2″ sides (you will probably need two baking dishes). Pour boiling water into baking dish until it comes halfway up sides of ramekins. Carefully transfer to oven and bake about 35 minutes, or until centres are just set (they’ll still be quite soft). Transfer ramekins to wire racks to cool 15 minutes, then refrigerate until cooled completely, about 2 hours.

  4. Just before serving, sprinkle each ramekin with 1 tsp sugar. Use a hand-torch to melt and caramelize sugar until golden brown, or place under a preheated broiler to do the same (watching very carefully).

Last Updated on October 22, 2012 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD

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