At Moss Mountain Farm October brings autumn leaves, brilliant blue skies and the colorful blooms of aster, salvia and goldenrod. In the vegetable garden pumpkins are ready for harvest. I’m a big fan of pumpkins for decorating and for cooking so I make sure to have plenty around. It’s amazing all the ways you can prepare pumpkin beyond the traditional pumpkin pie. There’s pumpkin soup and pumpkin martinis, and recently I had the pleasure of preparing this pumpkin crème brûlée at a Viking Cooking School demonstration in Greenwood, MS.
Pumpkin Creme Brulee (Makes 8 servings)
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup sugar, plus 4 teaspoons
- 9 large egg yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon good vanilla extract
- 1 pinch ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 325°
- You will need 8 ½-cup ramekins or custard cups.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, brown sugar and ¼ cup sugar. Bring to a bare simmer over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. You will know the cream is ready when small bubbles start to form on the edge of the pan and the top of the cream has started to ripple. Remove from the heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until frothy and lemon-colored. Slowly add ¾ cup of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly. This is referred to as tempering the mixture and prevents it from cooking the eggs. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot cream, and whisk. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and pumpkin, and whisk until smooth. Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. You will notice that there may be some of the pumpkin left behind. Divide among the ramekins.
- 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, about 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and refrigerate until chilled or overnight.
- Sprinkle each crème brûlée with ½ teaspoon of sugar. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar or use your oven broiler until the sugar melts and caramelizes. Rotate the cup every two minutes to avoid burning.
How to Make Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Still craving pumpkin? See Allen’s recipes for Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies, Pumpkin Bread, and Yummy, Easy Pumpkin Cake. And don’t miss Allen’s guide to pumpkin varieties for cooking, decorating, and carving.
By P. Allen Smith
P. Allen Smith is one of America’s most recognized garden and design experts. His Moss Mountain Farm serves as a place of inspiration, education, and conservation. Book tours at pallensmith.com/tours.