Ditch the traditional pumpkin pie for our Pumpkin Crème Brûlée. Smooth, rich, and steeped in pumpkin spice, this classic dessert is an incredible twist topped with a burnt sugar glass. Then tap, tap, tap to reveal a velvety custard center that'll have you melting with every bite.
Before summer ends Starbucks releases their pumpkin spice menu. While some may protest that it’s too early, this Pumpkin Crème Brûlée will have you quickly embracing the fall season.
Crème brûlée is a dessert we’ve made plenty of times. Typically reserved for special occasions, this pumpkin creme brulee is an idyllic dessert to end a holiday meal. Tap, tap, tap to reveal a crispy sugar glaze atop a decadent smooth, rich base and flavors of pumpkin, pumpkin spice, and, dare we say, everything nice, it’s topped with sugar and torched to pure perfection.
Each bite of our Pumpkin Crème Brûlée is rich, subtly sweet, and warm with notes of pumpkin and an herbaceous undertone. Serve this dessert for Thanksgiving alongside our Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad, Homemade Green Bean Casserole, or our Sweet Potato Corn Bread.
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A few easy-to-find ingredients and spices are all it takes to make our pumpkin crème brûlée. See the recipe card for quantities.
- Heavy Cream 35%: Provides a creamy, yet slightly firm texture.
- Vanilla: Use real vanilla bean if available, or vanilla extract.
- Maple Syrup: The real deal for a touch of sweetness.
- Cinnamon: A key ingredient in pumpkin pie, use a cinnamon stick if available.
- Ginger: Provides a sweet spice, use fresh if available.
- Cloves: A strong, flavorful spice essential in pumpkin spice.
- Allspice: A warm, aromatic spice with various flavor profiles.
- Nutmeg: A nutty, slightly sweet spice with a very intense flavor.
- Salt: Fine sea salt or kosher salt.
- Egg Yolks: Use fresh eggs, large or extra-large. Save the egg whites to make our popular Amaretti.
- Pumpkin: We use organic canned pumpkin for convenience, ensuring the only ingredient is pumpkin. Fresh pumpkins can be used if roasted and pureed.
- Sugar: White or raw granulated sugar is best.
Step by Step: How to Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
Crème Brûlée is a simple dessert to make that always impresses. The hardest part is the wait to eat it!
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Step 2: Bring cream, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, clovers, allspice, nutmeg, and salt, to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
Step 3: In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks, sugar, and pumpkin until smooth and creamy.
Step 4: While whisking, slowly pour in the cream until combined. Strain through a sieve, into a large measuring cup.
Step 5: Arrange ramekins on a baking pan. Pour the pumpkin creme into each ramekin.
Step 6: Place the pan onto the oven’s center rack and carefully pour hot water into the pan, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
Step 7: Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the centers are just cooked and jiggle when shaken. When ramekins are cool, remove from the pan and place in the fridge to chill until cold and set, about 2 hours.
Step 8: Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar onto each creme brûlée.
Step 9: Using a kitchen torch, glaze the sugar until a glassy top forms.
Chef's Tip: Hold the torch about 4 to 5 inches from the sugar, and maintain a constant, slow, side-to-side motion. If you don't have a torch, you can brûlée the sugar by placing the ramekins on the top rack of a cold oven, turning on to broil for 6-10 minutes, and turning occasionally with tongs, until the sugar is melted and brûléed.
- Heavy Cream: Use full-fat coconut milk to make the recipe dairy-free.
- Vanilla: This can be omitted if unavailable.
- Maple Syrup: Replace with the same amount of granulated sugar, but add with the egg yolks.
- Ginger: Ground ginger can be used, just a pinch for this recipe.
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You don’t need a lot of special tools to make this recipe but here are our top recommendations:
- Duralex glass mixing bowls
- Metal whisk
- Le Creuset spatula
- All-clad measuring cups
- All-clad measuring spoons
- Kitchen torch
- 5oz wide ramekins
- Zwilling Kettle
We prefer wide 5oz ramekins as they provide lots of surface area for that glassy sugar topping, though you can use any size ramekin you have on hand.
A water bath provides moisture in the oven resulting in an even cook, and prevents curdling or cracking of the surface of the crème brûlée.
Absolutely, crème brûlée can be made days in advance, which makes it a wonderful dish to serve for dinner parties. Simply cover the ramekins until ready to serve, then top with the sugar and brûlée when ready to serve.
Yes, if you remove the crème brûlée from the oven and they are firm and don’t jiggle when tapped, then they are overbaked. They are still edible, but the texture will be off. If the centers rise then the eggs have cooked and are likely beyond saving.
Crème brûlée that hasn’t been covered with sugar or torched can last about up to 3 days in the fridge. If you have already brûléed the top you can still save it, however, it crisp sugar topping will become soft and cannot be re-torched.
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
- 1 ¾ cups heavy whipping cream
- 1 vanilla bean seeds and pod (see note) or 1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 1 cinnamon stick or ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 slices ginger
- 3 whole cloves or 1 pinch ground cloves
- 3 whole allspice berries or 1 pinch ground allspice
- 1 pinch nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 4 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup pumpkin puree
- ¼ cup sugar + additional for brulee topping
- Preheat oven to 300°F.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, combine cream, maple syrup, vanilla bean adn seeds, cinnamon, ginger, clovers, allspice, nutmeg, and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then remove from heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes.
- In a medium mixing bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and egg yolks until smooth and creamy. While continuously whisking, slowly pour in the cream until combined. Strain through a sieve, into a large measuring cup or other pouring vessel.
- Arrange 4 ramekins on a baking sheet or roasting pan. Carefully pour an equal amount of the pumpkin creme into each ramekin, filling to about an ⅛ inch from the top. Place the pan onto the oven’s center rack and carefully pour hot water into the pan, about halfway up the sides of the ramekins.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the centres are just cooked and jiggle when shaken. When ramekins are cool, remove from the water bath and place in the fridge until cold and set, about 2 hours.
- Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of sugar onto each crème brûlée. Using a kitchen torch, glaze the sugar until a glassy top forms.