Pumpkin Creme Brulee
Your friends will think you slaved over this elegant dessert, but creme brulee actually comes together in just a few minutes with minimal ingredients! Try my easy pumpkin and spice recipe; you’ll swoon over the creamy, brown sugar custard under that crunchy caramel cap! (Naturally gluten-free.)
Are you looking for a pumpkin dessert this year that is NOT pumpkin pie? Something a little different, a little special, a bit elevated? This has your name all over it, my friend…
Silky, creamy, melt on your tongue delicious. There’s nothing better than a soft spoonful of creme brulee. Maybe those pretentious-sounding French words have you doubting your abilities, but don’t let them intimidate you. The truth is, creme brulee is one of the quickest and easiest desserts you’ll ever bake. And this version is absolutely perfect for this time of year, accented with warm spice and earthy pumpkin, and contrasted with a crunchy caramelized sugar shell.
I tried a new-to-me method for this recipe. I picked this technique up from the folks over at Cook’s Illustrated. Rather than whipping the sugar into the yolks, it gets dissolved into the cream. <– My new favorite way of doing it 😉 You get none of that weird froth on top. Just smooth, satiny goodness. Also, the cream is divided and only half of it is heated. This allows the custard to cook a bit more gently, and results in an even creamier texture. No rubbery creme brulee here!
To make it seasonal, you’ll want to use dark brown sugar, and accent the pumpkin flavor with cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and, of course, vanilla! It just wouldn’t be creme brulee without that sweet and fragrant vanilla. I used vanilla bean paste, but you could definitely substitute vanilla extract or the seeds scraped from a real vanilla bean. And please make sure you buy pure pumpkin puree, and not pumpkin pie filling. The pie filling already contains sugar and spices, so that would just be complete overload!
This is a great recipe for a party because you can totally make it ahead. It keeps in the fridge for several days. You can make it in little canning jars, like I did, or cut down on the dirty dishes by baking it in disposable foil ramekins. And a really fun idea is to pass the brulee torch around to your guests, and let them caramelize the sugar topping themselves!
Hope you guys enjoy this gorgeous Fall weekend! 😀
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Pumpkin Creme Brulee
- 4 egg yolks, (large)
- 1 cup (236.59 ml) heavy cream,, divided
- 3 tablespoons (44.36 g) dark brown sugar, (loosely packed)
- 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, (or the seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean)
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/3 cup (81.67 g) pure pumpkin puree
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar, (approximately), for bruleeing
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
- Place the egg yolks in a small mixing bowl and set aside.
- Place half the cream in a small pot, along with the brown sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer, then stir in the vanilla and spices (off the heat). Allow to steep for a few minutes, then pour in the remaining cream.
- Slowly and gradually add a little of the warm cream into the egg yolks, whisking. When all the cream has been added, and the yolks are warmed, whisk in the pumpkin and transfer the mixture to a spouted vessel. Divide equally between (4) 4-ounce ramekins or canning jars.
- Line a larger baking dish with a towel and place the filled ramekins inside. Carefully pour very hot water around the ramekins, about ⅔ of the way up the sides. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are set but the centers are still jiggly.
- Remove from the water bath and refrigerate for 2 hours minimum.
- Sprinkle about a teaspoon of granulated or demerarra sugar over the surface of each custard, then brulee with a kitchen torch or under the broiler.
Hi Allie – quick question. I would like to make this wonderful brûlée using the little mason jars you spoke of. In doing so will I be able to put the lids on without messing up the wonderful torched sugar topping? I’m thinking of doing this as Thanksgiving Day gifts for my neighbors
Hey Troyce! I’m so happy you’re going to be making this! I would recommend torching the sugar just before serving. It tends to lose it’s crunchiness if it sits too long. PS you have very lucky neighbors!
I’m 17 and love to bake! My boyfriend had me over to his families Thanksgiving last year, I brought 30 little jars of this Creme Brûlée and they absolutely loved it. So again this year, I will be bringing them!(:
Wow, that’s amazing! 30 jars! I’m so happy you and your boyfriend’s family liked the recipe. Thanks so much for the great feedback and keep up the great work!
This is a great pumpkin creme brulee recipe Allie, as you know I made it a short while ago and it was lovely! Thx for sharing this recipe of elegant dessert 🙂
I’m so glad to hear it, Jill! Thanks so much for the good feedback!
Hi Allie, was wondering where did you buy the glass container for the creme brûlée?
Hey Jessica! Those are just 4 ounce mason jars. I love them because they’re oven safe, just the right size, and great for so many uses. Here’s an affiliate link: http://amzn.to/2gCoG31. Thanks for reading!
Would it work to used canned coconut milk instead of cream. I am dairy free, so just wondering.
Hey Diane! I have not tried doing it that way myself, so I can’t say for certain. However, I often use coconut milk when making pastry cream, and that’s really similar to creme brulee. I think it would probably work, and that would be a great way for you or anyone who’s DF to be able to enjoy creme brulee. Good luck and thank you for the great question!
Can you make it the day before you use it? Or should it be made that day?
Hey Kim! I’d definitely recommend making it ahead so it has a chance to chill. Just save the sugar topping for the last minute. Good luck and I hope you enjoy!
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!!! This recipe is so out of sight that the Starship Enterprise couldn’t
fine it. I crave crème brulee. In fact I made myself almost sick at a lunch buffet in
the Bengal Room of The Empress Hotel in Victoria BC because you could have as many crème brulees that you wanted. Inspired idea.
That is hilarious! I am a huge fan of creme brulee as well. In fact, I think it’s just about the most perfect dessert there is 😉 Thanks so much for the great comment, Carol!
Hi Allie! This is beautiful and most be delicious! I’m so ready for pumpkin recipes and this one is on the top of the try-out list! My only problem, I don’t have a kitchen torch, is there any other way to get that crust on the top? – Love, Anna
Absolutely, Anna! A few minutes under the broiler should do the trick. Good luck and enjoy!
I only have 8 oz size jars. Would it hurt to double the recipe and fill them? I already bought the ingredients and can’t wait to try these!
I don’t think it would hurt a bit! But I would probably cook them a bit longer. Pull them when they’re just barely jiggly in the center. Good luck and enjoy, Ginnie!
I used this recipe as a guideline, and it turned out AMAZINGLY. My brother & sister in law are big fans as am I. The texture is exactly what I was looking for. Not too runny like some other recipes I’ve tried since we’re big fans of pumpkin flavor anything. My sister in law made delicious pumpkin cheesecake so I had to top her, and this did it!
I omitted the ground ginger because I hate that stuff (don’t kill me). And I didn’t have any ground allspice (I swear I thought I did), so I just used my pumpkin pie spice as a substitute. The flavor was still wonderful and I might actually stick with that. Also, I did an oopsies and didn’t read the whole instructions through before baking so I added the puree in when it said “add all spices” HA! However, it turned out great and I’m glad I found this site! I usually use recipes I find as guidelines, and improvise some stuff as I go. So this here is an example of one by accident.
That’s wonderful Christie! I’m so happy you enjoyed the recipe and I think pumpkin pie spice is a perfect substitute and a little easier to boot! Thanks so much for the awesome feedback 😀
looks like baby food ew
Haha too funny LICK BUM! Sorry you’re not a fan of creme brulee, it’s one of life’s great pleasures. To each their own! But thanks for reading anyway 😉
You have a knack for making me crave things that I didn’t even think I liked. I’ve never, for example, cared for creme brulee, but now I am dying to try it with pumpkin!
Lol that’s awesome Nora! I really loved the pumpkin version, but I have to admit, I’m a pretty big fan of the original too 😉
the perfect fix for the pumpkin fever that arises around this time of the year 😉 it looks absolutely delicious!!
Thank you so much Ines!
This looks SO GOOD, Allie! Beautiful photos, too.
I think I’d prefer this to pumpkin pie. Yeah, pumpkin pie is good but it’s so boring compared to all of the other great pumpkin recipes out there!
Same here, Julie! There are just too many exciting pumpkin desserts right now. I love it! Thanks so much for reading Julie!
Beautifully done Allie! It does look super simple. I’ve never made creme brulee of any kind. I’ve tried other flavors, and obviously pumpkin sounds amazing! I love the touch of small mason jars. Totally adding to must try Fall recipes. Thanks lovely! Hope your pumpkin segment went well! 🙂
Thank you sweetie! Everything went well and it feels good to have it all behind me now I hope you enjoy the creme brulee- it’s definitely a favorite of mine 😉
This is beautiful! I’m normally a bit funny with creme brulee, but homemade is definitely better and I can’t wait to make this pumpkin version to try – it’s my Mum’s favourite dessert, so I just know she’ll love it too!
Hooray! I hope you and your mom enjoy! Thanks so much Annie 😀
These look so, so good. And definitely more interesting than a standard creme brulee! I think I would like your pumpkin version better.
Thanks Jill! The original is pretty amazing but the pumpkin version is definitely up there too! Have a great weekend, friend 😀
These are adorable! Look at that perfect crust – I can just hear that crack when the spoon dives in 🙂 Delicious!
I love that crack! That crack is the best! Thanks Jess 😀
Allie, this looks ridiculously luxurious! What an amazing twist on a holiday classic. I love the jars too 🙂 Perfect as always!
Aw thank you Tashiana! You are such a sweetheart! Hope you have a great weekend, dear.
Lovely recipe, Allie! Creme’ Brulee is such a classic, and delicious in its own right. But, caramelizing with brown sugar (love the suggestion) and turning the classic into a holiday classic is brilliant! Your recipe makes me want to make this posthaste! Love the GIF, btw! Well done!!
Thank you so much Traci! I’m so happy you enjoyed, sweetie! xoxo