pumpkin crème brûlée

Don’t wait for Thanksgiving to give this a try. It’s the perfect end to an autumn meal. Actually, it’s the perfect treat any time of year. Especially if you love the taste of pumpkin. And really …who doesn’t love crème brûlée? 

The list of ingredients on this may seem long but that’s just because you’ll be adding lots of ground spices to the mix. That’s what makes this so flavorful.

And please don’t be tempted to substitute pumpkin pie filling for the canned pure pumpkin and spices!

While the cream is heating on the stove, the rest of the ingredients are blended in a large bowl. It’s all taken care of with a wire whisk. No electric mixer or blender needed here.

Once the heated cream is blended with the rest of the ingredients, the mixture is poured through a wire mesh (or cheesecloth) to be sure that all possible lumps are removed. You’re now ready to transfer the custard to your ramekins or custard cups. To avoid any spills, have the ramekins set up in a high-sided heavy roasting pan before filling them.

I place a mesh strainer over my large (4-cup) Pyrex glass measuring cup so that I have the advantage of using the pour spout when transferring the custard to the individual ramekins.

Once they are all filled evenly, carefully pour hot water into the roasting pan so that it reaches a depth of one inch. The whole thing then is covered and sealed with heavy duty aluminum foil before placing it in the oven. 

Be very careful when transferring the pan to the oven so that the water doesn’t splash into any of the individual dishes.

When done, remove the ramekins from the water bath, let them cool a bit then place them in the fridge for at least 3 hours or up to 3 days.

Now let’s have some fun. Sprinkle a thin layer of granulated sugar over the surface of each dish. Grab your kitchen blowtorch and caramelize that sugar by moving the flame quickly back and forth across the custard.

If you don’t have a kitchen blowtorch, you can arrange the ramekins on a baking sheet and place them under the broiler about 3 inches from the heat. The sugar should caramelize within 2 to 3 minutes. Just keep a close watch on it.

These are ready to enjoy just as they are. But if you are so inclined, a garnish of freshly whipped cream certainly adds to the festivities. And it sure does dress them up, too!

I like to add some freshly grated nutmeg on the whipped cream. Totally optional, of course!

pumpkin crème brûlée

Adapted from Genius Kitchen

For a nonalcoholic version, simply leave it out; you'll lose a bit of flavor but the custard will cook the same.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Chill Time 3 hours
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Author Rosemary Stelmach


  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (plus more for brûlée topping)
  • 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons canned pureed pumpkin (not pie filling)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons brandy, cognac or rum (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.  Place 8 (6-oz) ramekins or custard cups in a heavy-duty high-sided roasting pan.

  2. Heat whipping cream to just under a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat.

  3. Combine remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl, whisking together just until smooth. Gradually whisk in hot cream. Pour mixture through a wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher.

  4. Divide custard evenly among the ramekins. Fill the pan with hot water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover with aluminum foil, crimping around edges of the pan. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until custard is barely set and jiggles when shaken. Remove ramekins from water bath, let cool, and chill 3 hours or up to 3 days.

  5. Remove from the refrigerator. Sprinkle surface of each custard evenly with 1 scant tablespoon sugar. (The amount of sugar will vary depending on the shape of the dish.) Caramelize the sugar with a kitchen blowtorch, moving flame quickly back and forth across custard. (See Recipe Notes.)

  6. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Recipe Notes

If you don't have a kitchen blowtorch, broil 3 inches from heat 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar caramelizes.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *