When it comes to Thanksgiving, I think a family-style dessert is always best. I love the flavor of pumpkin and I think it’s a perfect match for the creaminess of crème brûlée. This dessert is at once elegant and homey, which I think is hard to come by. I hope you’ll give it a try this holiday season!
Pumpkin Crème Brûlée
Oh, pumpkin pie. We hate to do this to you now, but we’re over. It’s not us, it’s you. You’re delicious, sure – but you’re a little, well, boring. And the truth is, we’ve found someone else. Enter pumpkin crème brûlée. Packed with pumpkin flavor but creamier, richer, and infinitely more interesting. While crème brûlée is typically served in individual portions, we made this one family-style and totally Thanksgiving-appropriate. Grab a spoon and dig in.
1 quart heavy cream, (divided)
1 cup pumpkin purée
¾ cup granulated sugar, (divided)
¼ cup brown sugar, (packed)
1 vanilla bean, (split and scraped)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground clove
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
12 large egg yolks
Candied Nut Topping:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
¼ cup raw almonds, (chopped)
2 tablespoons raw pepitas ((pumpkin seeds))
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped candied ginger
½ teaspoon flaky sea salt
Set oven rack to lower middle position and preheat to 300 degrees F.
Whisk 2 cups cream, pumpkin, ¾ cup sugar, brown sugar, vanilla bean pod and scraped seeds, spices, and salt over medium heat until dissolved. Cover and let steep for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks in a large bowl until combined. Place 2-quart baking dish in a large roasting pan, and bring a pot or tea kettle of water to boil.
Whisk remaining 2 cups cream into warm cream mixture. Add about a cup to the egg yolks and whisk to combine. Gradually add the rest of the cream mixture to the eggs, whisking to combine. Strain into a clean bowl.
Pour custard into baking dish and place in roasting pan; transfer to oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the roasting pan until the water covers the baking dish by about ⅔, taking care not to get any water in the custard (it’s best to slide rack into the oven before pouring so that you don’t shake the custard as you push it in). Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the custard is just set.
Transfer to wire rack to cool to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate at least four hours or overnight.
To make topping, melt butter in a skillet. Add almonds, pepitas, and brown sugar. Stir and cook over medium heat until nuts are toasted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl; stir in ginger and sea salt.
Gently remove any condensation with a paper towel and evenly sprinkle remaining ¼ cup granulated sugar over custard. Using a kitchen torch, caramelize the sugar. Top with candied nuts before serving.
Sarah Ashley is a writer and YouTube personality sharing her life and love for all things creative, beauty, and spirit from Hudson Valley, New York. Forever homebody, modern hippie. Stay curious, keep evolving. City girl to country mouse.